posted on 5-Sep-2001 9:14:29 AM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
~*~*~*~*~*~
Author: Mary N.
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, but I wish I did!
Title: Chosen Avenues (sequel to Exploring Avenues) I suggest you read 'Exploring Avenues' before reading 'Chosen Avenues.' The story will make more since to you this way.

Link to Exploring Avenues Chapter One:
http://pub24.ezboard.com/fmarynsroswellfanfictionfrm1.showMessage?topicID=14.topic

Realm: Roswell AU
Rating: R to NC-17 in parts due to relationships.
If the bad language isn't needed, why use it?
Theme: This is primarily a Max and Liz story, but it includes all of the characters, and more than likely a few of my own invention.
Summary: Max and Liz continue to lose control as their natural urges are increased by an outside force. This outside force is using their strong love and connection to reveal secrets of the pod squads past, location of orbs, other items sent to assist them in their destiny.

Taken from Sexual Healing: “Maxwell, if this is real...if there's any chance this is real, you owe it to us and to yourself to find out. And in the meantime, I'm gonna pursue my own avenues.”

The four podsters have chosen a new avenue to explore. One different from the one they were lead to believe was their destiny. In doing so, they have found they have even a greater destiny, one that involves not only themselves, but the four humans as well.
~*~*~

Prologue
(Same day, same place we left them at the end of ‘Exploring Avenues.’)


As the eight friends left the cemetery and headed back to Roswell, they were unaware of the two sets of eyes watching them. Both male adults worrying about the dangers that lay ahead of them. One, Nesado, had recently realized how he had failed them in more ways than one. The most hurtful was misguiding Tess to believe as he did. That she was destined to be the Kings bride. The other, was not being there to train and prepare them for the real dangers laying head in their futures.

The other, Olan, hoping there was still time for the four pairs to find the two remaining orbs and other object from their home planet meant to assist them in accomplish their destiny successfully. As much as he wanted to initiate the next series of flash, he couldn’t. Max, Liz, and the others had to have time together. Time to strengthen as a group, and as couples before the next phase.
Knowing this didn’t help his piece of mind, his growing concern that their enemies would be closing in on them before they were ready.
***
Little did he know just how right he was. Sitting in an extravagant office in Overland Park, Kansas a woman with long black flowing hair and crystal clear blue eyes is typing a message on a computer.

The message reads:

Warriors of Lenohti, the time we have long since awaited, is at hand. We have reason to believe our enemies, the royal four, are in New Mexico. You all know last February we tracked a signal coming from the Southeastern quadrant of the state. Only an hour ago, a second beacon was tracked to the northeastern quadrant of the same state.

It’s time to move more even more of our resource to that area. Each Unit Commander will receive specific order for the location of their unit to set up camp within the next twenty-four hours. I expect each unit to be in place and ready to move, at the sign of any further activity, within two weeks of today.

Good luck to you all, may we accomplish our task quickly and return to our home as heros at long last.
Commander Molina

After sending the message, she stands and moves to the window looking out at the skyline of the city. “At long last the Royal Four will be mine. Once they are destroyed there will be no one to stand in between me and everything I have ever wanted.”

~*~*~

Chosen Avenues
Part One


Two weeks had passed since the third orb had been found. The fire and desire which had raged out of control between Max and Liz had returned to that of any typical, normal teens deeply and completely in love. They still felt a strong need to touch each other in some way or another whenever possible. However, to their great relief, as well as to their friends, they were once again in control of when and where they gave into their desires.

The biggest concerns were being ready for whatever trouble came their way including the strong possibility of Max and Liz having a sudden relapse of their inability to control themselves. There wasn’t anyone in the group who hadn’t considered the consequences of Max and Liz losing control at some inappropriate time or place, or worse, in front of the wrong people.

No one wanted to witness to another heavy make out session between the couple, yet they wanted; no, they were anxious to find the next orb. Because of that, Michael and the others never complained about all the time Max and Liz spent alone. Instead, they encouraged it. Even to the point of Michael, and surprisingly enough Tess, offering them to use of their homes. On top of that they all took turns covering for them when it came to their parents.

Max and Liz couldn’t have been more grateful. They took advantage of their friends generosity while trying to keep their public appearances to a minimum. The only time they didn’t spend alone during the last two weeks was while they worked, making their nightly appearance at their prospective homes, and the few hours each night they spent with their friends in the living room of the Harding’s home.
***
Other factors working in their favor were the new waitresses that had been hired to work at the Crashdown. Although Mr. and Mrs. Parker weren’t excited by the idea of Liz traveling around the state with her boyfriend and six closest friends. They were sure it would be a good experience for her to see some of the historical, and natural sights found in New Mexico. After they’d discussed it at great lengths, they agreed to allow the trips under certain restrictions.

The first days of summer vacation Jeff put a sign in the window of the Crashdown announcing they were looking for additional waitresses and another cook. He was more than surprised by the number of applications turned in within the first few days by the local teens looking for summer jobs. Since there were so many, and since he had little time for interviews, Jeff turned to Liz and Maria for their input, seeing that they knew many of the applicants from having gone to school with many of them.

Liz and Maria were both extremely excited when they were asked to help with the hiring of some new waitresses. They both figured by doing so they would get to choose some girls they would enjoy working with; as well as girls that would actually be willing to carry their own weight, unlike Agnes. They ended up picking three girls they’d know for a few years, Kelly Madison, Laura Harris, and Patty Valentine. For the kitchen duty Jeff selected Ben Easton, someone Alex recommended for the job.

By the second week of the summer vacation, Liz and Maria’s hours had been reduced to three six-hour days, freeing them to spend more time with alone with their prospective other and with the gang as a whole.

Michael wasn’t as free to give up his hours because he still had rent and utilities to pay as well as his other necessities. However, after talking to Jeff Parker, he was able to set up a schedule that suited their needs.
***
Saturday, Max finished his shift at the UFO Museum at 2:00 p.m. sharp. Leaving through the front door, he walked across the street and headed straight for the Crashdown. Entering the restaurant, his eyes sought out the one person he wanted to see the most, the one person he couldn’t stand to be without.
***
For the last half-hour, every time someone came into the restaurant causing the bell rang on the door to ring, Liz systematically glanced over to see if it was Max. Hearing the bell ring this time was no different from the others, with the exception of him standing there with a look of bliss as their eyes met. If it hadn’t been for the three plates of food she held in her hands, she would have walked right up to him and kissed his soft lips as she had been wanting to do all morning.

Before she had a chance to get lost in her thoughts, her attention was brought back to what she was doing by the dark-haired man sitting at the booth in front of her. He’d grown impatient waiting for his plate and started to take it from her hand, and upsetting the balance of the others. To her relief she’d saved herself from a mishap by quickly rebalancing the two remaining plates. She smiled apologetically at the three customers for her loss of attention and placed the plates down on the table.

Out of the corner of her eye, she watched Max as he casually walked over to his usual booth and sat down to wait for her. She could feel his eyes following her as she moved around the dinning room. It was a real struggle to maintain her concentration but she had to tend to the tasks at hand. Being polite to her customers, she approached each of her remaining tables, placing the bills face down and explaining that her shift was over for the day and that she would be leaving them in capable hands. If they needed anything else, she told them to ask Maria who would gladly get it for them.

After finishing with her customers, Liz quickly joined Max in the booth where they shared a brief and tender kiss. They both pulled away before the kiss had a chance to deepen, knowing this wasn’t the time or place to allow themselves to get carried away. After pulling back, Liz noticed a glass of Cherry Cola already sitting on the table, and assumed Maria probably brought it over to him. “I see someone was already here, Maria, right? Did she take your food order for you as well?”

“Maria stopped by to say hello and brought the drink with her, but I told her I was waiting for my favorite waitress to take my order.” He answered with a bright smile.

Over the last two weeks Max and Liz have enjoyed a playful lighthearted camaraderie. In many ways their lives had returned to normal, at least as normal as their lives could be. In many ways their lives mirrored the lives they lived before Tess’s arrival in Roswell. Feeling playful, Liz teased, “Really? And what waitress would that be?”

Meeting her gaze with a playful grin, Max responded with glee. “You know, the really cute one with the long dark silky hair, chocolate brown doe eyes, and soft kissable lips.”

“If you’re talking about Kelly, I’m sorry to tell you she is off today. I guess you’re stuck with me.”

Max was enjoying this, but he thought of something he would enjoy even more. Without wasting anytime, he pulled her into his lap and began to tickle her mercilessly. “Stuck with you is it? You think you’re funny don’t you Ms. Parker.” He continued his assault even as she begged for him to stop, that is until she began to squirm so much she almost knocked his glass off the table and into his lap. He had no choice but to stop his assault and catch the glass before it fell otherwise he would have ended up wearing it.

As soon as he stopped tickling her, she pulled out of his grasp, climbed off his lap, and out of the booth. Once on her feet, she quickly straightened her uniform and looked around the cafe to see if anyone was watching them. She wasn’t at all surprised to see almost everyone in the cafe looking at her. Not wanting to be the center of attention, she slid back into the booth nudged him with her shoulder. “You jerk! Now everyone is looking at us like we’re the entertainment for the night.”

Max grabbed hold of her hand and smiled. “I hope you learned your lesson. No one makes jokes about the woman I love.” Wanting to get out of under scrutiny of all the on lookers, and to somewhere more private, brought his lips to her ear and whispered, “How about we get out of here, and head on over to Michael’s.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“Are you planning on wearing your uniform?” Max asked buoyantly with a suggestive raising of his eye brows. “You know, I’ve always fantasized about you in that uniform, more precisely, me helping you out of your uniform.”

Playfully slapping him on the chest, she replied with a wide spread grin and a light giggle. “I swear, you and your fantasizes.”

“Hey, you’ve never complained about them before.”

“Who says I’m complaining now?” Continuing to giggle, she slid out of the booth and pulled her order book from her apron pocket. “Honestly, as much as the idea appeals to me, I really should go change. If my parents were to notice that I left her without changing. Which you know as well as I do that they would. They would start asking question that I would rather not have to answer or lie about. Now, why don’t you tell me what you want to eat, I’ll have Maria bring it to you when it’s done, and I’ll be back in say twenty minutes.”
***
Once upstairs, Liz rummaged through her closet trying to decide what to wear. After dismissing several different outfits, she settled for a short black skirt which hugged her hips perfectly and flared slightly as it moved down her legs coming to rest a few inches above her knees. To go with it, she selected a red form fitting tank top from her dresser, as well as a matching set panties and bra set made of red lace. Throwing them onto the bed with her skirt, she moved into the bathroom for a quick shower to rid herself of the smell of hamburgers and fries.
***
Across town at the Harding’s home, Tess was waiting patiently for Isabel, Alex, and Kyle to arrive. Since the four of them were fortunate not to have jobs, they’d agreed to head to the movies for a few hours. Hearing the doorbell ring, she grabbed her bag and opened the door with a joyous smile on her face. The smile quickly fell and her expression turned cold when she came face to face with none other than Nesado.

Chapter Two

After showering away the offending smell of the cafe food, replacing them with smells of her favorite strawberry bath gel and Vanilla shampoo, Liz emerged from the bathroom, wrapped in her towel, only to discover she wasn’t alone. Trying to hid her surprise, she quickly formed a small pleasant smile. “Mom, what are you doing in here?”

For the last two weeks, Nancy had been steadily growing more concerned about all the time her daughter was spending with Max Evans. She was also becoming more and more uneasy with the idea of Liz, Max and their friends traveling around the state without and form of adult supervision. She’d been wanting to talk to Liz, but there just never seemed to be a good time. “Liz, we really need to talk.”

Liz looked at her mother questioningly, “Okay, but can I get dressed first please. I feel a bit uncomfortable standing here in my towel.”

Nancy exhaled a deep breath, as she stood to her feet. “Right, um..., I’ll just wait for you in the kitchen then.”

Liz watched as her mother left the room closing the door behind her. She then dropped her towel, dressed in her matching red laced panties and bra. *Oh great! Of all times for her to want to talk to me. I only allowed time for me to get cleaned up, and I’m already running late. The real question is what does she want to talk about now? I swear if she want’s to have another one of her talks about how I shouldn’t be tying myself down to just one guy, I am going to completely lose it.*

Liz picked up a bottle of lotion and began to apply generous amounts to her legs, feet and arms as her thoughts continued down the same road. *I can only imagine what she would do and say if she knew just how close Max and I really are. Or even worse, if I tried to explain to her how we are destined to be together, and how we found out from some visions we are receiving from some alien orbs. Wouldn’t she just love that?* She laughed softly to herself as placed the lid back on the lotion and finished dressing. *Yeah, she would love to hear the true about me and Max.*
***
Tess had a mix of emotions running through at the sight the protector who’d raised her. The three strongest emotions were anger, fear, and curiosity. She wanted answers, answers to why he’d been lying about her true relationship to Max, and their destiny. Why he continually told her that humans were insignificant, when in fact they’d been sent here to find their destined mates among them. Above all else, she wanted to know why he would come back now when everything was finally coming together for both her new family, and her and Kyle.

Question after question was running through her mind, but she couldn’t bring herself to ask any of them. Instead she worked on focusing all of her energy into standing her ground and hiding the fear and anger pulsing through her veins at the mere sight of her so called father, Mr. Harding. When she was sure she could maintain her calm fasade, she asked, “What do you want?!” To her dismay, the venom in her voice revealed the anger and fear she’d been trying to hind.

Displeased with her emotional out burst, Nesado noted to work on it with her later, but for now he had to get her to understand everything wasn’t as it seemed. He stepped into the room, closing the front door behind him. “I know you’re angry Tess. You have every right to be, but don’t let your human emotions rule your thinking. It’s time to use your head and listen to what I have to say, and listen closely. Your life, and the lives of the others, including the four humans, are in grave danger. It is because of this danger, that I am here now. It is now, as it has always been my responsibility to protect all of you.”

“Protect us, including the humans?” Her disbelieve was evident. After everything he’d ever said about the humans, she was having a hard time with the concept of him trying to protect even one of them, let alone four. “Why should I believe a word you say?”

Nesado has known for some time that this wasn’t going to be easy, but he’d hoped it would be easier if he convince Tess to hear him out first. “Again, I know you are upset because you think I intentionally mislead you. I really don’t expect you to believe me, but I didn’t, at least not intentionally. I merely made a mistake based on the information that I had. You see, I truly believed you were the Kings bride, Max’s bride. And that the humans played no real part of your lives. I’ll try and explain the reason for why I thought what I did, and what’s changed.”

“From the time I was young, I’d heard rumors about how close and protective the prince and his sister were of each other. From those rumors, as well as everything I’d learned before leaving for Earth, I truly believed Isabel was his sister. It wasn’t logical that he would have left her, you his sister, behind in the pod chamber. I didn’t come to my conclusion on that alone, there was also the book of destiny. You saw the way you and Max were displayed with each other, I just assumed . . . ”

Up until this point, she’d been patiently listening to what he had to say. However, when she’d heard the word ‘assumed’ leave his mouth, she could no longer hold back her anger that had been building within her. Therefore she erupted. “ASSUMED?! YOU BASED EVERYTHING YOU TOLD ME ON ASSUMPTIONS?! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO US?! DO YOU EVEN CARE WHAT HELL WE HAVE ALL GONE THOUGH BECAUSE YOU ‘ASSUMED’ MAX WAS TO BE MY HUSBAND?! OR ABOUT THE DAMAGE IT CAUSED BETWEEN US AS A GROUP, AND WITH THOSE WE WERE TRULY MEANT TO BE WITH?! WHAT ABOUT . . . ”

Tess would have kept ranting, but she stopped in shock as she saw the front door fly opened revealing the three very worried faces of Kyle, Isabel, and Alex. “For pity sake! What the heck is going on in here?” Isabel cried out, while Kyle moved quickly to Tess’s side asking, “Tess, are you okay?”

Mr. Harding/Nesado watched as Kyle moved protectively between himself and Tess, followed shortly by Isabel and Alex. If he’d been one to laugh, he would have been in hysterics at the sight of the two human boys standing in front of the Tess and Isabel. The whole idea that they were going to try and protect the girls who were far more capable of protecting themselves than they ever thought of being. *These humans maybe a part of this group now, but they sure aren’t very bright. Don’t they realize if I wanted to harm Tess or Isabel they wouldn’t have any hope of stopping me? They really do have a lot to learn, which unfortunately means I really have my work cut out for me.*

“What the hay? Why is he here?” Asked Alex as he turned to look at Tess over his shoulder.

Having Kyle, and the others there was helping Tess calm down considerably. She returned Alex’s gaze and responded in kind. “He says he’s here to warn us. That we are all in danger.”

“If Isabel, Tess, Max, and Michael are in danger like you’ve told Tess, then why are you telling ‘just’ Tess and not all of them? Max is the leader, of all the people that should be hearing this, shouldn’t he be number one. After all, aren’t you supposed to be reporting to the king?”

“Alex, he said we were all in danger, including you, Kyle, Liz, and Maria. All of us.” Tess corrected. She then walked over to the phone. “I think Alex is right. Max should be here to hear this as well. He’ll be able to figure out if Nesado is telling the truth or not.”
***
After drying her hair, applying fresh make-up, Liz examined her appearance in her full length mirror. Pleased with the results of her efforts, she headed to the kitchen to for her talk with her mother. “Mom? What did you want to talk about?”

Nancy had been doing everything and anything to keep herself busy while waiting an Liz. She was currently wiping down the counter top for the fifth time when she heard Liz behind her. She looked up at the sound of Liz’s voice, and noted her nervous stance. She looked so nervous in fact, Nancy could swear Liz was ready to make a mad dash for the nearest door. “Don’t you look really nice today.” Nancy pulled out a chair, sat down, and motioned for Liz to do the same. “Are you going out with Max Evans again?”

Liz really didn’t want to talk to her mother right now. She wanted to get out of there and into Max’s arms as quickly as possible. Instead of taking the seat as her mother wanted to, she pointed toward the stairway leading to the break room below. “Yeah, in fact he’s waiting down stairs for me right now. So I should probably get going.”

“Liz sit down. I told you that we needed to talk, and talk is what we are going to do.” Liz reluctantly sat in the chair opposite of mother. “Now then, I’ll try not to keep you too long. Your father and I have been talking about these trips you and your friends are planning to take this summer. And we’re both feeling a bit uncomfortable about them because of how close you and Max have been getting lately.”

“You aren’t changing your mind about me going are you? I know Max and I are close, but it’s not like we are going alone or planning on ditching the others or anything.”

“I didn’t say that. I’m just saying that we are concerned, rather we’re worried you and Max maybe setting yourselves up for something neither of you are really ready to handle.”

Liz now knew this was worse than she thought. Her mother wanted to have ‘The Talk’ again. She rolled her eyes and in a pleading voice she said, “Mom, come on. We’ve already talked about this. Max and I are close, yes, but it’s nothing that you and dad have to worry about. And besides, you know how uncomfortable talking about this is for me.”

“Liz, please. We haven’t really talked about this, every time I try to bring it up. You say that it’s to embarrassing. The truth is, I would rather us be a little uncomfortable and embarrassed now, than at some later date because we didn’t have this talk.”

Nancy is also very uncomfortable talking about sex and intimacy, but is doing her best not to let it show. “Look sweety, I know how easy it can be to get carried away in the moment and I’m worried this could happen between you and Max. The two of you have been spending so much time alone together, and now with these trips you’ve planned I’m concerned something your not ready for could happen. If that were to happen. . . ., it’s just that you have such a promising future ahead of you, and I don’t want to see that spoiled because of something you do while you’re young. If, which I’m really hoping you don’t, but if you and Max do decide to become intimate, I want you to be careful. Take precautions, you know. It only takes one time of unprotected sex to contract any of many sexual transmitted deceases, and only once to get pregnant.”

It was very apparent how uncomfortable Liz was by the look, and flush color of her face. To put both herself and her daughter out of their misery, she concluded this conversation with a question. “Not that I’m condoning sex, or think you have had, or are planning to have sex, but do you want for me to set up an appointment with the doctor to . . ? Well, you know. Just so you are prepared if it were to happen.”

Hoping to put this topic to rest for now and forever, Liz answered as honestly as she could. “You don’t have to worry, okay. Nothing is going to happen that I’m not ready for. Max would never take advantage of a situation like that. It’s not in his nature. And when and if I feel we are ready for our relationship to become intimate I’ll make myself a doctors appointment.”

Even though Liz didn’t tell her mother the whole true, she didn’t really lie to her either. Nothing had happen that she didn’t want to happen, or felt that her and Max weren’t ready for. On top of that, she had done just what she’d said she would do, she made an appointment for herself with the doctor last winter when things first started heating up between her and Max; around the same time they got caught in the eraser room last February.

Hoping her mother was satisfied with their conversation, and that it was over, she stood up, and headed for stairs to join Max in the Café. She only managed two steps before hearing her mothers voice once again. “Before you go Liz...” She pivoted on her toes turning back to face her mother. “...there is one more thing.”

Liz stifled a groan as she wonder what other torture her mother had come up for her. “And what is that?”

“Your father and I would like to have Max. . .” Nancy caught the panicked expression on Liz’s face, and raised her hand up in the air, motioning for her not to say anything until she finished. “. . . and your other friends to come here sometime this week. You can meet down in the Crashdown like you used to, only this time we would like to be present. This will give us a chance to get to know the whole group better. Before you even think of arguing about this, you should now. We have both agreed this is something need to do, before we are willing to let you go traipsing around the state we these friends of yours.”

The look on her mother’s face told her there was no getting out of this, not if she wanted to go with the others to help search for the orbs. And under the circumstances she really didn’t think it was a good idea for her to be left behind. “I’ll talk to everyone and find out when a good night would be.” After making sure there was nothing else her mother needed to talk about, Liz left the kitchen, picked up her bag that she’d placed around the corner, and headed down the steps.

As she passed by the restaurant kitchen, she waved hello to Michael then pushed the swinging door opened and entered the café. As soon as she stepped through the door, Max was on his feet and heading straight for her. Taking her hand in his, kissed her tenderly on the lips. He could see that she was unnerved about something, but didn’t want to press her. He knew that if she wanted to talk about, she would. “Are you ready to get out of here?”

“More than you will ever know.” She answered turning to wave goodbye to Maria as she let Max lead her out the front door. “We’ll see you at Tess’s later on Maria.”

“We’ll be there Chica, the question is will you and Romeo be there?” Maria shook her head from side to side as she watch her two friends leaving. She, as did their other friends, knew exactly where Max and Liz were heading. The same place they’d been going for the last week when Max would pick her up, Michael’s apartment. No one knew for certain what they were doing there, but after the display they’d seen on the side of the road, they all had their suspicions.

As Max and Liz stepped out of the Crashdown Liz’s cell phone began to ring. She fumbled with her bag and pulled it free. “Hello?”

“Hey Liz. This is Tess, can I talk to Max for a moment?”

“It’s Tess for you Max.” They both looked a little puzzled, Tess never called to talk to him, at least not as this time of day. “What’s up Tess?”

Chapter three

Max and Liz rushed over to the Harding’s after learning Nesado was back in town. As far as Max was concerned, him being back could only mean one thing, bad news. What other reason would he have to discontinue being Pierce and risk coming back to Roswell? And now that he was back, was he going to start with more of his lies, trying to convince them all to follow the destiny he’d been telling them about?

They reached the house seven minutes later and let themselves in. The first thing they noticed Nesado was standing on one side of the room, while Isabel, Alex, Tess, and Kyle nervously stood on the other. Max wrapped his arm protectively around Liz and locked his eyes with Mr. Harding/Nesado almost as if he were challenging him to say anything about the fact they were together. “Why have you returned to Roswell? Has something happened?”

Nesado was pleased by Max’s directness. Getting right to the subject at hand is a sign of a good leader. “You are all in danger. You meaning the royal four as well as your human counter parts.”

“Are you saying the FBI has resumed their investigation into us?”

“No. You don’t have to worry about them anymore. I’ve erased all the information about you from their files. This threat is far worse than the FBI and far more deadly.”

“How could anyone be worse than the FBI or Pierce for that matter? Are you forgetting what they put Max through?”, asked Isabel not wanting to believe things could get worse than they had been a month ago.

“I’ve not forgotten. However you’ll have to trust me when I say this enemy is worse. You see, they don’t just want to run tests on you, or find out your secrets. They simply want you dead, and they don’t care who gets hurt in the process.

“Oh my gosh!” Isabel proclaimed as she sat down on the couch. The idea of something happening to any of her friends, her family, or even to innocent bystanders because of them doesn’t sit well on her stomach or her nerves. “I know if Michael were here he’d say we should leave Roswell. Maybe it’s time.”

“Wrong. That’s the last thing you should do.”

“What? Since when are you for sticking around anywhere for more than a month or two? As I recall, you always said it was too risky to stay anywhere too long. You always said that it would give our enemies a chance to close in on us, and now you’re saying that’s exactly what you want us to do? You want us to just sit around and wait for them to find us? What’s up with that?”

“That was in the past, and several things have changed since then. Most importantly, the royal four are united once again. Secondly, you are no longer a four square, but you have become a circle of four pair. This means there are now more of you, and if eight teenagers and one adult suddenly moved into town, and shortly moved out again it would be bound to draw attention. Besides, you’re safer here than anywhere else. There are advantages to knowing the area, the people who live around you, and their knowing you; one of which is being able to pick out when someone new comes to town.”

“In addition to those reasons, there is a more important reason for our staying in this area. There are still two orbs that need to be found. The way things are going, they’re more than likely somewhere close by. So you see, we have to stay here as long as there is a chance Max and Liz will receive further visions.”

“How long have you known about my and Liz’s visions? And would you please explain way you didn’t say anything about there being more orbs to us sooner?” Max questioned authoritatively.

“I discovered the connection between you and Liz at the same time I found out about the additional orbs. That was approximately two weeks ago”, he answered evasively. This is one area of conversation he needed to avoid. If asked directly by his king how he’d found out, he would have no choice but to answer. That would result in Olan’s presence being revealed, something he had sworn he wouldn’t do.

“You’re saying you didn’t know about any of this until recently? If that’s the case, then why did you come back to town and why didn’t you let us know right away that you were back?”

“I’d finished erasing all links to you from the FBI files, and I was coming back to report. When I arrived back in town, I came here. My intent was to have Tess call you, Michael and Isabel over for a meeting. To say the least, I was surprised to find that not only were the four of you already here, but so were four of the humans who knew your secret. I felt it would be best if I waited until the humans left and then I’d confront you about what had transpired during my absence.”

Nesado obviously twisted the truth slightly, but only enough to omit anything to do with Olan. “While I was waiting in my car, I saw the eight of you leaving. At the time I didn’t know where you were going. I just knew it was an unusual hour for you to be leaving so I followed you. When you reached the cemetery I stayed out of sight, again feeling it best for me to wait before revealing my presence.”

“From my hiding place, I witnessed everything you did at the cemetery including the light beacon being activated when you located the orb. After you left, I stayed there to keep an eye out for any one else that might have noticed the beacon. No one came for hours, so I thought you were in the clear. However, when I was about to leave, eight people arrived and searched the area with equipment that was above the technology available to even the FBI. It was because of their advanced technology that I was able to identify them.”

“They call themselves the warriors of Lenohti. They are conquerors who attacked our planet. They came from one of our neighboring solar system. I’m sure you must have further questions. However, in order to be more efficient, I think it would be wise to continue this conversation later when your second and his human companion are here.”

“No, I want you to continue now. Tell us everything you know, and we’ll worry about filling them in later”, Ordered Max. He didn’t want to wait until later in the evening to find out about the dangers they may all be facing.

Hesitantly Mr. Harding/Nesado continued. “As you request your highness, but you may want to take a seat; this could take awhile.” As the group took their seats, Nesado continued to tell them everything he could. This task wasn’t going to be easy without mentioning Olan, and he knew it.
“As I was telling Tess earlier, misdirecting you from your true destiny was never my intent. From the beginning, I believed the royal four were to be bonded as they had been on their home planet. I realize now it was presumptuous of me to make such an assumption such as I did. My assumption was not farfetched. I assure you, it was based on things I’d learned about the royal four before leaving Antar, and the images I’d found in the book you know have in your possession.

“Antar? Is that the name of your planet?” Ask Liz.

“Actually it’s not my planet, it’s the name of the ruling planet in our solar system. There are four other planets, but Antar is were Max, Isabel, Michael, and Tess were raised.” Feeling confident that they understood, he continued on. “Back to what I was saying. My teaching Tess what I assumed to be the truth was one of my biggest mistakes. I should never have tried to control destiny. Instead I should have allowed it to unfold on it’s own.”

“There is no excuse for my actions other than to say that just as many of our people’s hopes are placed in the four of you, so have mine been. It was widely known throughout your planet and mine as well as the others in our solar system, that you four were selected by the Seer as our salvation from our enemies. I was only trying to see that you fulfilled the Seers prophecy by fulfilling destiny. Unfortunately, my interference only served to delay you in fulfilling your true destiny rather than advance it as I had hoped. These delays have left you more vulnerable to your enemies, and therefore I am here to rectify this problem.”

“And just how do you plan to do that?”

“Mostly, by protecting the humans when and where you can’t. I also plan to help you further your training, and help you discover what else you are capable of doing. I’m still not sure how the humans play into all of this. I’m hoping Max and Liz will be filling in those blanks for us all. As much as I hate admitting it, the four humans you have chosen are important to your success and the survival of our people.

Tess was caught so completely off guard by Nesado’s statement that she burst out in to a fit of hysterical laughter. She was laughing so hard that she slipped to the floor and had to hold her sides because they were starting to hurt.

Chapter four

Kyle, Max, Liz, Isabel, and Alex stared at Tess completely surprised by her outburst. They didn’t find any of what they had heard from Nesado to be the least bit funny.

While listening to everything Nesado had been telling them, several different questions were running around in Max’s head. *Should I. . .should we trust Nesado after all the lies he’s told Tess over the years? Has he really come back here to help us like he says or is he just trying to get us to trust him again so well let our guard down? What if he is telling the truth and we really do have an enemy out there searching for us, wanting to kill us and those we care about, those we love.*

He squeezes Liz’s hand tighter in his own as he looks at her beautiful face. *What would I do if anything ever happened to you?* He then looks around the room at the faces of his friends, his family, those he cares about most in this world. He also thinks about those he shares these same feelings for that aren’t with him in this room. Michael, Maria, his parents. *How am I going to keep them all safe when I don’t even know what these enemies look like or how to defeat them? But then, do I dare trust Nesado to help us? I don’t see that I have much choice; and yet, it’s going to be along time before I give him my trust. That is, if I ever do.*

As Nesado’s last words, “As much as I hate admitting it, the four humans you have chosen are important to your success and the survival of our people ” echoed through Max’s mind, he felt as if some of the burdens he’d been carrying had been lifted only to be replaced with newer heavier ones. Hearing Tess’s burst of laughter caught him completely by surprise. The thought that she could be laughing at a time like this shocked and appalled him. He realized he wasn’t the only one either by the expressions on Liz, Isabel, Alex, and Kyle’s faces. He was about to question her reaction when Kyle beat him to it.

“Well excuse me, Tess, but I fail to see much humor in any of this. Personally, I thought you’d moved beyond this “aliens are superior” line of bull, and realized we were all in this together. That we humans are just as important to our group as you and the other Czechoslovakians!”

Hearing the hurt and anger in Kyle’s voice brought an abrupt halt to Tess’s bout of laughter. “Oh my gosh, Kyle. You guys, it wasn’t that at all. I’m sorry you thought I was laughing about him saying you were important, or that this whole thing isn’t serious. It wasn’t any of that, I swear. It’s just; you didn’t grow up with him. I mean, I’ve known Nesado my whole life and in all that time, not once has he ever backed down to anyone, or admitted he was wrong about anything. Now, here he is, openly admitting to all of us that humans are as important to the survival of our people as we are. He’s actually admitting that humans, at least four humans, aren’t inconsequential, insignificant, frivolous, or useless like he’s been telling me all of these years.”

“I mean Liz, Max, Isabel, don’t you remember what he said that day in the chamber, after we healed him?” She could see by their expressions that they weren’t sure what words she was referring to. “You know, when he saw Liz was with us in the chamber. He said she had no right to be there. Don’t you remember?” When she saw the remembrance in their faces she continued. “And now he’s saying that along with Max, Liz is the key to us finding the other orbs, and saving our ourselves as well as our people. He’s having to eat his own words. For the first time at least in the eleven years, he’s having to eat crow.”

Suddenly Tess burst out into another fit of laughter. She couldn’t help herself, she felt as if she’d just received her freedom. She no longer had to carry the guilt of having been a pawn in some plan of to destroy the others as she had been for the last two weeks.

Everyone, with the exception of Nesado, could see the humor in the situation. However, from the look of Tess, she still saw more humor in the situation than they did. Letting Tess enjoy her moment, the others stood by and waited patiently.

Once she seemed in control of her faculties, Max asked the question most on his mind. “As Tess has pointed out in a round about way, you’ve never been a supporter of the human race. And definitely you’ve not been in favor of our bonding with any of them. We’ve seen you demonstrate this in more than one way. For example, your willingness to sacrifice Liz last May in order to lure Agent Pierce out. Which brings me to my question. Why should we believe anything you’ve said here today or trust you to help protect any of us?”

“I don’t expect you to trust me. In fact I’d be disappointed if you did. However, you are forgetting one thing. I have, and will always be, faithful to you my king. I may not like the choices you make your Highness, but I will follow your orders even if it means sacrificing my own life.”

With a nod of his head, Max acknowledge what he felt was an honest statement. In the few moments that followed, he realized even though he questioned Nesado’s methods and his choices, Nesado’s actions always seamed to be with the intent of protecting them or helping them in some way. A good example of this had been the way he assumed Pierce’s form without question, even though there would be many risk resulting from his surrounding himself with the very people who were hunting for us. People how knew how to detect him.

With everything he’d heard whirling around in his head, Max was coming up with more questions than answers. He needed to get out of there for a while and clear his head before starting round two, which undoubtedly would start the moment Michael and Maria arrived after their shift at the Crashdown. He looked over at Isabel knowing there was one way she and the others wouldn’t give them a hard time about their untimely departure. “Liz and I are feeling . . . and well, we need to be alone for a while. We’ll be over at Michael’s if you need us.”
They seemed to get what he was implying, because no one said a word as he pulled Liz out of the house.
***
Maria was standing in the Crashdown kitchen talking to Michael when Kelly, one of the new waitresses, poked her head through the order window. “I swear, some people have seriously warped taste buds.”

“Are you talking about your “gross scale” again? Who is it this time, and what’s the combination?” Maria asked with a wide smile and shake of her head. More than once Kelly had mentioned this “gross scale” of hers. Since she’d started working at the Crashdown, she’d been really surprised by some of the strange combinations some of their customers ate. Four of Maria’s friends in particular made her wonder.

“You see those two guys at table seven? They have just topped the gross scale.”

Both Maria and Michael leaned forward looking out the window to get a look at the guys Kelly was referring to. There were two guys, both looked to be in their late twenties, early thirties. They were both on the cute side, with well-toned bodies, clean cut, wearing what would be classified as business casual. One of them had sandy blonde hair, while the other had dark brown.

After seeing these guys, Maria had a hard time believing whatever they were eating could come close to some of the things she’s seen Michael and the others do. “Are you trying to say they have topped Michael’s soda and tabasco fetish? I didn’t think that was possible.”

Michael groaned, “Hey, don’t knock it till you try it.”

Kelly ignored Michael’s groan and answered Maria’s question. “I didn’t think so either, but this even tops Tess’s strawberry shortcake and Tabasco sauce. Both of those guys put salt into their alien blood smoothies, and I’m not talking about just a little. Between the two of them, they practically emptied the shaker.”

“Eww, that is gross. Just the thought of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.”

Kelly picked up the two plates Michael just set in the window and replied, “Exactly.” Before turning to go deliver the order to her customers at table nine, Maria turned and looked at Michael with that look in her eye; the one that says, ‘what do you think?’

“What?”, he asked trying to figure out what Maria was thinking.

“Oh come on Michael. Don’t you think it’s a little strange for someone to like the taste of salt that much? I mean we are talking salt here.”

“What are you trying to say Maria? You think because they like the taste of salt, that means they aren’t of this world? Just give it a rest already.”

“But what if I’m right? I mean just because you and the others aren’t big on salt, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some others like yourself who do.”

“What are you suggesting I do, Maria? Walk up to them and ask, ‘I noticed you like a lot of salt. Does that mean you aren’t of this world? Give me a break.”

“Of course not. I’m just saying we should keep an eye on them, that’s all.”

“Fine, you keep an eye on them from out there. I have work to do if we are going to get out of here on time tonight.”

“Great! I’ll do just that.” Maria storms out of the kitchen and stands behind the counter wiping it down while keeping her eyes on table seven and it’s occupants.
***

TBC. . . .*angel*

[ edited 17time(s), last at 18-Aug-2002 11:03:43 AM ]
posted on 5-Sep-2001 9:53:41 AM by Mary N OO8
Chapter Five

Those inside the walls of the Harding home weren’t the only ones interested in what was being talked about. Even though he wanted to listen in, Olan stayed true to his nature and maintained his distance. He’d followed Max and Liz, the two who held the most important role in their group as well as in assuring their peoples survival, from the Crashdown Cafe. Not wanting to drawl their attention to himself, he waited until they entered the house before climbing out of his car and beginning an in depth scan of the area.

After looking for anything or anyone that seemed out of place, and in the end feeling confident that all was clear, he allowed his stance to relax. Leaning his back against his car he pulled a small plastic container from his shirt pocket; the container containing the small candies he’d grown fond of over the years. Shaking a couple of tic-tacs into his palm, he popped them into his mouth and prepared for a long wait.

As time passed he began to feel more and more edgy. At first he chalked it up to the nervous energy coming from the six youth inside over having the presence of someone they didn’t trust and suspected had lied and mislead them intentionally. As the feeling continued to grow he couldn’t take it any longer. *What if they don’t believe him? What if they are asking questions he wasn’t prepared to answer or can’t answer because that would mean telling them about me?*

The uneasy feeling continued to accelerate to the point he had to know for sure if it had to do with what was going on inside or if this had to do with something else. He took one more look around him and than cautiously crossed the road and headed for the bushes at the front of the house.
***
Max and Liz both knew it didn’t really matter whether Max implied what they were going to do at Michael’s or not, their friends all assumed they were going there for one thing and one thing only anyway. Every since the day of their road trip to the outside of Edina, New Mexico, their friends didn’t hassling them much. Instead they were very supportive of anytime the two of them sought to be alone. It went without saying that they were all hoping the two of them would generate more flashes and lead them to the next orb.

In the beginning it embarrassed Max and Liz to have their friends thinking they were a couple of out of control, horny teenagers, who’s only thought was the next time they could get into each others pants. They quickly realized, however, this could be a good thing. That may sound a bit odd, but as long as their friends thought they were going off for a make out session or more, they didn’t give them as nearly as much flack as they would have other wise. It was almost as if it were more acceptable because the flashes they sometimes got benefitted them all.

If only they could understand how important it was for Max and Liz to spend time together doing normal couple things; things that didn’t always call for or lead to the removal of their clothes. Things like cuddling on the couch while watching a movie, having pillow fights and tickling matches, or talking about their dreams for the future. One of their favorites was putting on a CD, turning off the lights, lighting a few candles, and dancing for hours in each other’s arms. Okay, the girls and Alex seemed to understand this to a degree, but even they didn’t understand their timing.

In actions that made it obvious to the five people remaining in the Harding’s living room, Max was more than a little eager to get Liz alone. He pulled her straight out the door, heading for the jeep without waiting for a response to the request he’d called over his shoulder. “Kyle, would you call you dad and ask him to join us here in a couple of hours? I think it’s a good idea if hears about what maybe coming our way.”

Alex, Isabel, Kyle, and Tess shook their heads from side to side as they moved about the room. It was Alex who noticed the puzzled expression on Nesado’s face. For understandable reasons, Alex still didn’t feel very comfortable in this alien’s presence. Alex chose to handle this in a joking manner. “Mr. Harding, you do know about the birds and the bees, right?”

“Excuse me?” Nesado/Ed Harding asks in a dry monotone voice, without taking his eyes off the departing jeep until it was out of range.

“The birds and the bees, you know about them?” Feeling that this guy still isn’t understanding what he is try to ask, or why Max and Liz left like they did, Alex bluntly stated, “You know sex, reproduction.”

“Of course. Why are you asking?”

Figuring he may have to put this in layman terms, he tries a different approach. “You do know why Max and Liz took off like they did, right? You know so they could head over to Michael’s place to. . .”

“I would think that was obvious, he did after all say as much. What’s your point?” Nesado asked, his lack of patience for Alex showing through. If it hadn’t been clear before how unhappy Nesado was about having to help protect any humans, even those involved with the royal four, it certainly was at that moment. The look in his eyes was as cold as the blackest night. He had to admit they do have some importance to the survival and success of the royal four’s mission, but no one said he had to like it. As far as he was concerned, they were still ‘only humans.’

Alex doesn’t like the tone of superiority he hears in Nesado’s voice, and with contempt asks, “What’s your problem? I was just trying to help, because you looked puzzled by Max’s hasty retreat. Since I obviously misread what you where puzzled about, would you explain the puzzled expression?”

Nesado stood there glaring at Alex, not bothering to grace his question with an answer. That is until Isabel stepped in. “Alex asked you a question. The least you could do is try and act like you have some manners and answer him.”

Looking between Alex and Isabel, Nesado finally gave in. “I was trying to figure out why our king would run off like that when there is so much that needs to be talked about. I would understand if the Seer’s powers were affecting him, but I was under the impression that the orbs wouldn’t be sending out the next serious of flashes this soon.”

Having finished talking with his dad on the phone, Kyle returned to Tess’s side in time to hear her asking, “Who is this Seer, and what makes you think Max is being affected by his or her powers?”

“You could call the Seer our people’s spiritual leader or life guide. She has the ability to see many possible futures and tries to lead our people toward the life that will be most beneficial to both the individual as well as the entire population as a whole. It was through her gift of foresight the royal four were preserved through cloning and then sent to this planet.

***
Olan barely made it behind the shrub before Max and Liz stepped out the front door. Seeing them leaving this soon, he was sure the uneasy feeling he was getting was coming from inside the house, and that things hadn’t gone as well as he’d hoped. The way he saw it, if things had gone well, the two of them with their logical minds would still be inside bombarding Nesado with questions.

*What could have gone wrong? I was sure they would at least hear him out and take the necessary precautions even if they didn’t believe him. Could I have been so wrong about their ability to get beyond this? If so, the only hope they have lies in the hands of the Seer. Will she have me go to them, or will she send what they need to know through a vision from the orbs?*

Continuing to watch the young king and his mate, he was hit with a whole new series of questions. *For two people who are upset about the presence of Nesado, enough to make me feel this uneasy, they sure aren’t acting like it now. And yet this feeling is still growing. What if it’s not coming from them at all? What if it’s coming from . . .*

He didn’t need to finish that thought, instead he tried to think of a way to get to his car as quickly as possible without being spotted. Staying behind the cover of the hedges he moved to the side of the house and through the neighbors backyard.
***

Sliding his key into the ignition of the jeep, Max glanced over at Liz, meeting her gaze. The love he saw radiating in her eyes made his heart soar. He hadn’t planned to do this now, but he couldn’t resist kissing her. The closer they moved to each other, the slower time seemed to move. His loving hands reached her first; one wrapped itself securely around her waist, while the other gingerly cupped the side of her face, brushing tantalizingly against her earlobe. As his lips closed over hers, he tenderly stroked her check with his thumb.

Caressing her soft sweet lips with his mouth using slow and tender motions was his intent; just enough to satisfy a smidgin of what he suspected they were hungry for. However, as their lips meshed together it quickly became passionate, heated, and aggressive. Feeling his own need for more intimate contact spike, Max knew he had to end this before he completely lost control and gave into the flames of passion that were threatening to consume him.

Reluctantly he leaned back into his own seat, slowly releasing her lips as he did. Feeling the loss immediately he groaned in frustration. He knew he wasn’t alone in his predicament as he heard a soft whimper escaping from the parted lips of his temptress. As he lovingly gazed upon her face he couldn’t help taking in how flushed and beautiful she appeared with lips slightly swollen and red, her chest rapidly rising and falling, and her eyes dark and glassy. It had been hard enough to pull away, but seeing her this way crumpled the little self control he had remaining. He could no long fight the desire to take her back in his arms, feast further on her lips, and feel her body pressing against his own.

Liz was still feeling dazed by the effects Max stirred deep within her. She was thankful for Max’s resolve, because if he hadn’t stopped them when he did, she was sure she would given herself completely to him right there in the Jeep in front of the Harding’s home and in plain view of anyone that happened to pass by. In an effort to free herself from the haze passion and desire still coursing through her veins she took a few deep breathes. Within those few microscopic moments she’d gained enough control over her body to realize Max was moving towards her once again. The look in his eyes told her his control had wavered and that if she didn’t stop him, a second round was about to commence. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to stop herself once it had started she had to do something to stop this now.

Not trusting her voice to relay her thoughts forcefully enough, she raised her hand between them and pressed firmly against his chest. Still feeling shaky with little resolve, she kept what she had to say short and to the point. “Max, to Michael’s . . . , now.”

Understanding and agreeing with her completely, Max raised one hand to the ignition, started the engine, and pulled the jeep away from the curve. “Right, Michael’s.”
***
Olan made it to the Crashdown in record time. As entered the restaurant and looked around, he was commending himself for taking the precautions of taking on an alternate appearance before arriving. If something did go down here today it was best he wore a face that no one would recognize.

He sat himself in one of the booths towards the front door incase a hasty retreat was required. Looking first for Michael than Maria he could see that they both seemed fine, but the young girl seemed to be watching a table with two men who had finished their meal and were talking in hushed voices. Looking more closely at the table he saw two empty salt shakers sitting in the middle of the table. He quickly averted his eyes, so not to get caught staring.

Wanting to appear as natural as possible, he looked through a menu, and then looked up expectantly for his waitress to appear. A few minutes later Maria appeared at his side. “Hello welcome to the Crashdown. My name is Maria and I’ll be your server today. Are you ready to order?”

“Sure, I’ll take a cherry coke, Will Smith, and a slice of pie. How about the men in black?”

“Sure, do you want me to bring that with your meal or after?”

“With would be great.”

“Okay then.” Maria turned back toward the kitchen taking one more look over at the two men in Kelly’s section. They hadn’t done anything else out of the ordinary; that is, outside of adding salt to their shakes. But in the pit of her stomach she knew there was something about them that wasn’t right. What really got to her was that Michael was still acting like it was no big thing. Why wouldn’t he listen to her? Why wouldn’t he even consider it a possibility that they were aliens and, even more so, that they were the evil aliens Liz said Nesado told them about in the chamber after they’d healed him?

“Here’s another order for you spaceboy.”

Michael had been noticing the way Maria was keeping one eye on those two salt freaks, and even though he wasn’t willing to admit it out loud at this point, he was worried about them too. “Maria, stop staring at those guys. Their going to think you have the hots for them if you keep it up.”

“Maybe I do.” She retorted with a teasing gleam in her eyes.

“Ha ha, I mean it Maria. If they are some kind of evil aliens like you think, do you really want them to catch you staring at them?”

“Like I think? Come on Michael, why can’t you just admit it? You think there’s something off about them too? No one, and I mean ‘NO ONE’ likes salt that much.”

“Fine, whatever. Just stop staring at them already.”
***
While watching the interaction between Michael and Maria, with a causal glance at the men in question, Olan couldn’t help but question what was going on between Max and Liz earlier. Knowing for sure now that the uneasy feeling he was getting was coming from Maria and Michael, he was questioning why Max and Liz would have been leaving the Harding’s when they should have been trying to learn as much as possible from Nesado about their enemies and making plans in order to protect themselves and their human mates.

There was no way for him to get the answers he wanted or needed. All he could do was hope everything worked out in the end.
***
On the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico; Commander Jaclynne Molina glanced up from her monitor at the few remaining boxes sitting around her new office. Her mind is racing with thoughts of the victory she believes is at long last approaching. After gathering her thoughts she returns to the letter she is composing to the various units scattered around New Mexico. No sooner does she put her fingers to the keys than she hears a knock on her office door. Keeping it short and to the point, which has been one of her most valued assets, she calls out, “Enter.”

Entering as ordered, a fairly attractive well built man, looking to be in his mid to early twenties makes his way to the front of her desk. His light blonde hair was a strong contrast to his deep golden tan which is visible despite his business attire.

“What is it Milo? Have the last of the units checked in?”

“Yes Commander, the last report just came in. All units are in place and have already begun looking for signs of the Royal Four.” He sat a sack of food and a drink from a local sub shop on the edge of her desk as he continued. “Your lunch as your ordered. If there is nothing more. . .”


“Right, that will be all.” As he left the room she turned back to her computer and continued typing the letter to the unit commanders.

The message reads:

Unit Commanders of the Lenohti,

Your messages have been received. All units are in place are ready to proceed. Your job for now is to watch for any movement that seems out of place. It’s essential that all units stay sharp and ready to move at a moments notice. We have reason to believe the next signal should be sent out within the next week.

It is still not known how the Royal Four are able to track the location of the orbs. This being the case, it is extremely crucial for all units in the near vicinity to get to the location of the next signal as quickly as possible. Detain anyone seen trying to leave the location until they can be ruled out.

If all goes as planned, we will be victorious in our mission, and will be on our way home as heroes at long last.

Commander Molina

End of message.

After hitting send, she pulled the lid off of her drink and sat down it down. Opening the cabinet beside her desk she pulled out a blue cylinder container, the label clearly marked salt, and poured a generous amount into her cup. Removing her straw from its wrapper she stirred the salt into the soda and took a drink.

Chapter Six

Keeping a leash on their desires proved to be a more difficult of a task than either Max or Liz had bargained for. In fact, it proved to be nearly impossible for the two of them. By the time they reached the apartment parking lot, they were both so overwhelmed with the desire they felt for each other that they didn’t trust their own ability to keep even the most innocent of kisses innocent. To say that the sexual tension between the young lovers was running high would be an understatement; it would be more appropriate to say the currents running through their bodies would spark into flames if they were to actually physically touch each other at that moment.

Unable to bare one more minute or even one more second sitting within inches of Max without touching him and giving into the desires burning within her, Liz jumped out of the Jeep as it stopped rolling. She made a mad dash for apartment building’s open breezeway, which lead to Michael’s apartment.

Shocked by Liz’s sudden departure, it took Max a moment for it to register that she was no long sitting next to him. When realization finally dawned, he quickly climbed out of the Jeep. After shoving his keys in his pocket, he set off in hot pursuit of his one and only eternal mate; the subject of his overwhelming desire. Try as he might to catch up to her, it just wasn’t meant to be. While running down the open breezeway as fast as he legs would carry him, a man unexpectedly stepped out of his door and directly into Max’s path.

If not for the combination of Max’s quick thinking and even quicker reflexes they would have both ended up down on the floor in a heap of flesh. As it turned out, Max was able to shift and rotate to the side; bumping into this man with minimal force and only knocking him slightly off balance. No matter how much Max wanted to resume to his pursuit of Liz, he couldn’t. Not if it meant leaving this stranger before making sure he wasn’t injured and conveying his apology. “Are you okay?”

Stable and on his feet, the neighbor brushed himself off as he replied, “I’m fine, no real harm done.”

Relief washed over Max as their eyes met, enabling him to assure himself that he was okay. “I’m really sorry about this sir! I was just . . ., you see me and my. . . ”

Looking up into Max’s face, he could see this young man was sorry and his apology sincere. Even as Max tried to explain, which he was doing poorly, some movement over his shoulder caught the older man’s attention. Running away from them, in the same direction this dark haired young man had been going, was an attractive young woman. Putting two and two together, it was pretty easy for him to guess what was going on between the two young people.

Seeing the humor in this situation, he promptly raised his hand and let out a small chuckle, effectively silencing Max. “No problem son. If I were you and young again, I’d be chasing after that pretty little thing myself. Now stop wasting time with this old man and go after her before she gets away.” As his eyes landed back on the dark haired beauty now nearing the end of the breeze way, his eyes instantly doubled in size and his head began shaking to and fro in disbelief. *To be young again.* Was his thought as he said, “Uh fella, if I were you, I would be seriously high tailing it down there. That is unless you want her to start without you.”

Wondering what this guy was referring to, Max turned so he could look over his shoulder. The sight before him shocked him as well. It was so unlike Liz to do something like this. Lying haphazardly along the breezeway were Liz’s shoes, and as she slipped through the doorway to the apartment she was pulling her shirt up her body. Max suddenly felt very uncomfortable. The idea of the man, obviously older than his own father, knowing what he and Liz had in mind for the afternoon’s activities didn’t sit well with him. Desperately wanting to get away from this man for more reasons now than before, he cleared his throat and excused himself.

“Right, I’ll just go and. . . . , um, sorry again.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Max took off down the breezeway, slowing briefly to swoop up Liz’s shoes. Once inside, Max leaned back against the door, closed his eyes, and took a few deep calming breathes. The need to calm his nerves was quickly surpassed as he remembered she’d taken off her shirt as she’d stepped over the threshold into the apartment. He opened his eyes, let them adjust to the change in lighting, and then scanned the living room and kitchen for Liz. Not seeing her in either room, he knew she had to be either in the bedroom or the bathroom.

Pushing himself away from the door, he took a few tentative steps forward and stopped when he stepped on something. Looking down, Max realized he’d stepped on the red shirt Liz had been wearing. Not wanting to just leave her shirt lying on the floor, he bent over and picked it up. Returning to his full height, his eyes landed on another piece of her clothing. Lying on the ground beside one of the end tables was her black skirt.

While taking the few strides forward to pick up her skirt, his eyes darkened and his body throbbed with intense need. It couldn’t be avoided; not that he would have tried, as images of her striping her clothes off as she moved through the room accosted him. The texture of the soft fabric in his hand made him think about how soft her skin would feel as he caressed and explored her more sensitive regions. With two senses already working in his favor to draw a perfect image of Liz, he couldn’t resist adding a third.

He slowly raised her clothes up to his nose and took in her sensual scent which lingered within the fabric. That was a mistake. With his senses going wild by this point he couldn’t wait for the real thing any longer. He needed to satisfy the longing of his other senses. He needed to taste her, to hear her sweet throaty moans of pleasure as she came undone in his arms, under his touch. Just thinking about it was almost his undoing. With the fog of lust and desire consuming his every thought, Max quickly dropped her clothes and shoes onto the end table, not realizing the skirt slipped back to the floor, and headed for the bedroom door as quickly as his body would allow in it’s present state of arousal.

Pushing through the bedroom door, Max came face to face with an image even more spectacular than he’d imagined. Kneeling in the center of the bed was his temptress, looking as hot as hell in a matching bikini panties and bra set made of a sheer red lace. There was no doubt that the fire he saw in her chocolate brown eyes as the moved up and down his body, was burning just as brightly, if not more, in his own. In a deep horse voice, laced with reverence and hunger, he whispered, “Wow! Liz, you look. . . double wow!” as he joined her on the bed.

Meticulously Max drew his hands up her outer thighs until they came to rest on her shapely hips.
“You are a true enchantress. Just the sight of you. . .,” His eyes roamed up and down her body once again. “. . .heaven help me Liz. Just the sight of you makes me crazy!”

Their lips met with unbridled passion as he pulled her body firmly against him causing every cell in his body to come life with a fury. His hands and lips roamed over her abundance of warm silky soft skin of her nearly nude form as if trying to claim and mark every part of her as his own. With each second that passed the faster his heart pounded in his chest, the more he longed to feel their bare flesh pressing against each other, and the more his member persisted in its demand to be buried deep within her treasured cavern.

The largest obstacle currently keeping them from doing what they both really wanted to do were his clothes. As much as he wanted to get them off, he couldn’t force himself to abandon the heavy petting and kissing currently going on between himself and Liz even for the short time it would take him to undress. He really didn’t see this as a big problem; after all he did have two hands. With one hand placed at the back of her neck he continued to kiss, lick, and suck hungrily upon her lips, and on the sweet flesh along the side of her neck on down to the exposed portion of her supple breasts. With his other hand he frantically worked on releasing the buttons running down the front of his shirt.

Liz’s growing desires were reaching a higher pinnacle under the hungry way in which Max was showing his love and desire for her was pushing her our desire to a new height. Her appetite for their joining was causing all kinds of wicked thoughts to go through her mind. All she could thing about were the things she wanted Max to do to her as well as things she desperately wanted to do to him. As these enticing thoughts compiled in her mind, she decided it was time to give at least one of them a try.

Max had managed to free only the first few buttons on his shirt and was still struggling with the rest when Liz suddenly grabbed hold of his shirt and pulled it off of his broad shoulder. As she pushed him back on the bed, she couldn’t help but smile victoriously when she saw the surprised expression on his face. This was just too perfect. She’d had been wanting to be the strong aggressor for once, and this seemed like the perfect chance. With Max lying on his back still looking slightly stunned, she straddled his hips, pressing her aching center against his prominent member.

She watched as his eyes grew even wider, as the realization of how ready she was for him and for what was to come overtook all of his thoughts. His lips parted as a groan of pleasurable agony spilled from them. Liking the way this was working out, she pushed the envelope even further as she leaned forward and mimicked his earlier attack of her flesh by kissing and nipping her way along his strong broad shoulders and down his masculine chest. Her small hands took to completing the task he’d started, as one by one the remaining buttons fell open revealing more of his glorious bronze colored skin. With each button that feel open, she moved further south with her vigorous attack.

Her assault on his senses was making it hard for him to concentrate on anything other than his need to join with Liz and in satisfying their physical and emotional needs through their union. With his hands no longer occupied trying to remove his own clothes, he focused on ridding her of hers. His goal was simply to remove all barriers keeping him from seeing, touching, possessing the body of his love; the body which was meant for his eyes and his touch alone.

She was making his task very difficult on him to achieve as all conscious thought was pushed to the furthest recesses of his mind as she gyrated her hips, effectively rubbing herself against his throbbing erection. Only one thought repeated in his mind as he felt his control over his own body slipping, “Liz. . ., sweetheart. You have to. . . to stop. . .,” He choked out as he grasped hold of her hips trying to still them.

Misunderstanding what Max was saying, she had to question why he would want her to stop. It couldn’t be her imagination; she knew he wanted this too and it wasn’t as if they’d never made love before. “Stop? But I need you so bad Max, why would we need to stop?”

“I need you too, that’s not what I meant. I mean if you keep rubbing against me like that, it’s going to be over before we even get started.”

She really didn’t hear his reasoning, but instead was listening to her own inner thoughts; thoughts which echoed her own insecurities about being able to please Max. Suddenly feeling shy, she questioned if she’d been too forward and aggressive. In an attempt to hide her face from his view, she lowered her head and allowed her hair to fall like a curtain around her face, effectively hiding how red her face had suddenly become. He didn’t need to see her face to know what was going on; the change in her demure as well as the soft shy way she responded with a simple, “Oh” said it all.

What he didn’t understand was why she had gone from acting like a tigress one minute to acting like a timid child who had just been scolded the next. By his telling her she had to stop, had he made her doubt how much he was enjoying what she’d been doing to him? If that was the case, he had to convince her otherwise. If not, he had to find out what really caused the change.

“Liz?” Placing a finger gently under her chin, he coaxed her into looking up at him. He wanted her to look into his eyes. “What’s this about Liz? Why the sudden change in the way your acting?” When she didn’t answer he pressed forward, wanting to relinquish any doubts he may have inadvertently caused her to be having.

“Liz, you need to tell me what’s wrong; because what I’m thinking. . .well lets just say I don’t like thinking what I’m thinking.” He paused a few short seconds and than pressed forward once again. “Did I do or say something to make you doubt how much I want you right now; how much I was enjoying everything you were doing to me? ‘Cause if I did. . .oh Liz, please tell me you aren’t thinking like that.”

“Yes! No! I don’t know Max. It’s just, I know I’m being silly, it just that the few times we’ve made loe you’ve always been, well, in control, and, and I didn’t know how you felt about . . .”

A small smile of relief appeared on his face. He didn’t understand why she was doubting her effect on him, not with the physical proof of his reaction so prominent. Not to mention that he’d tried explaining to her exactly why she needed to stop. At least now he knew what the problem was and could do something to put it to rest. Quickly assessing the facts, he decided there was only one sure way to prove his point and that was to show her. Holding fast to her hips, he thrust his own hips upwards pressing his swelled flesh firmly against her. “If I didn’t like the way you took charge, do you really think I’d have had this kind of reaction?”

In her brief moments of thought, she thanked the stars for Max and his ability to put an end to all of the self doubts she’d been experiencing over the last few minutes. With his simple act he’d let his aroused body testify to the validity of his statement, and at the same time ensued such emotional and physical pleasures within her she was quickly being swept away by passion once again.

Max found himself right back in the situation he’d been in before he’d caused Liz’s bout with self doubt. He was lying on his back, Liz straddling his hips, and gyrating against him. He let out a groan of frustration as he stilled her hips, holding her firmly against him. He knew if he didn’t do something about removing the obstacles between Liz’s heat and his own he would end up erupting before feeling her bare flesh pressing against his own and her wet warm cavern wrapped around him.

In his quest to resolve this problem, he stoked her tender flesh with the tips of fingers while drawing them up her back to the clasps of her bra. The hooks released easily allowing him to slide the garment from her shoulders and down her arms. One down, one to go he thought to himself.

At the sight of her bare ample breasts above him, Max couldn’t help himself. He decided the panties would have to take a back seat to his need to taste her sweet flesh and the feeling of her pert nipple in his mouth. The position he was in wasn’t working for what he wanted to do. He sat up, pulling Liz even firmer against him, and closed his mouth around one nipple while tenderly massaging her other breast.

Despite his firm grip, her hips began to sway once again as she threw her head back calling his name. “Maaaxxx!”

Even as wonderful as this sensations were, the desperation in her cry told him it had to end. He released his hold on her breasts, flipped her over onto the bed, and moved out of her reach before she had a chance to stop him. Standing with both feet planted firmly on the floor he turned to face her with a reassuring expression and finished removing his shirt. His eyes openly roamed his goddess’s exquisite curves fully before moving closer and slipping his fingers inside the waist band of her red lace panties.

Liz locked her eyes with his as she raised her hips allowing him to easily slid her panties over her hips and down her legs. She then watched his eyes as they moved back up her body and noticed how they were lingering in some places longer than others, which turned her on all the more. His eyes were hooded as he met her gaze, and if not for the movement of his arms she would have continued to stare back at him. Curiosity getting the better of her, she followed the length of his arms to see what his hands were doing, reaching her destination just in time to see him pushing both his pants and boxers down to the ground in one fluid motion.

Just at the sight of his flesh standing proud and she was ready to attack him once again. Before she had the chance, he descended onto the bed laying on his side beside her. His arms wrapped around her waist and he pulled her on top of him as he rolled onto his back resuming their former position.

Blood was pounding through her veins at an unbelievable rate, as her body cried out for his in ways she didn’t know were humanly possible. If there had been any lingering doubts about his enjoying her taking control his actions would have obliterated them. With the knowledge of the pleasure and satisfaction she knew would ensue with the joining of his body and hers, she engulfed his maleness deep with in her core with one fluid motion. The air around them to echoed with sounds of their shared pleasure.

Taking things slowly wasn’t an option at this point and instinctively they both knew it. Their lips sought out each other’s flesh leaving trails of fire and passion in their wake as their bodies continually collided against each other at a frantic pace. Devout with love, passion, and the intense longing they felt for each other, their bodies moved together as one, rapidly taking them to the border between pleasure and surrender.

Feeling his control slipping, Max cried out, “Liiizzzz, oh Liz!”

The sound of him calling out her name during his final troughs of passion ripped cries of his name from her throat as it triggered a powerful release within her depths. Breathlessly she collapsed against Max’s chest as sensations of ecstasy, surpassing any she’d ever experienced washed over her.

Simply enjoying the peaceful serenity which surrounded them, Max and Liz fell asleep still clinging to each in the aftermath of their vigorous love making. Even though they hadn’t discuss it, they both suspected private moments such as these were going to become a rare commodity. They would refrain from following any kind of predictable pattern or leaving themselves vulnerable to these new enemies, an enemy they had to believe was more dangerous than they’d ever known. It was time for safety to take presidencies over their private time.

Upon waking from their short nap, Max and Liz agreed they could no longer put off the inevitable. They’re wasn’t a chose, they needed to spend some of the time they had left alone making plans to ensure the safety of all those they loved and cared about. They never bothered to question whether Nesado was telling the truth or not, it was a mater of taking precautions, precautions they could no longer ignore. The way they both saw it, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

As the afternoon slipped into night they made love once more. This time taking pleasure in the many facets of caressing and sculpturing each others beautiful forms as the moved together in a slow leisure manner. Before then knew it, the time had slipped by and they had to rejoin the others for a meeting they weren’t looking forward to.

In order to save time, they felt it was best to shower separately. Otherwise they knew where that shower would end and as a result it would have made them later than they were already likely to be.
*****
During the drive back to Tess’s, Max was feeling the weight of his responsibilities weighing heavily on his shoulders. As the leader, or King as Nesado had called him, he felt it was his responsibility to keep everyone safe. He and Liz had come up with some ideas of how to go about doing this, but he knew some of it wasn’t going to go over very well.

*As soon as we get back I have to find out what else Nesado knows about these enemies he says are after us. Maybe he knows of someway we can identify them; something that stands out about them. One can only hope. But what if he can’t, what if there is nothing to tell? Maybe he’s already told us everything he knows. I can hear Michael now. He’s going to want to get out of here and go somewhere where no one knows us. I have to convince him that we are safer here where we have the advantage of knowing the layout of the area..*

Pulling onto Tess’s street, Max felt a surge of panic at the sight of Michael’s motorcycle sitting in front of her house. In hopes of preventing an explosive situation, he’d hoped to head Michael off before he found out that Nesado was back in town. Knowing Michael, he probably blasted Nesado on sight for all the bull he’d filled Tess with over the years. And more than likely Nesado end up knocking him on his butt like he’d heard of him doing the last time Michael tried using his powers on him.

Chapter Seven

Alex sat on the couch watching Isabel pace back and forth between the window and the stairway for what seemed like hours. Looking down at his watch once again, he realized in truth it had only been about twenty minutes. Continuing to watch her pace, he could swear he saw steam rising from her ears as she began her rant about Max and how he was never on time for anything. He thought to mention how that wasn’t really the case, that Max was always early when it meant seeing Liz, but he thought better of it in her present state.

After his previous effort to calm her down, he knew it would be futile to try again. Choosing to distract himself, he glanced over at Kyle and Tess sitting on the piano bench. It was safe to say he wasn’t having any better luck calming Tess down by the loathing glare she was sending directly at Nesado. Thank goodness Tess hadn’t mastered some alien power to kill with a look or Nesado would have been long since incinerated.

In her pacing, Isabel neared the window yet again. While searching up and down the street for any signs of Max and Liz, she sent up a silent prayer that they would arrive before Michael and Maria did. Under no circumstance did she want to be the one who had to explain to Michael why Nesado was back in town or why they couldn’t beat his head in for the pain his lies caused. Nor did she want to be witness to what Nesado would do to Michael if she couldn’t keep him from trying to use his powers on the shape shifter. She’d already seen Nesado knock Michael on his butt once before, the first time they come face to shape shifting face, and even then it was apparent he’d used very little of the power he was capable of.

Seeing a motorcycle coming down the street, she strained her eyes trying to identify it and it’s passengers. “Oh no, oh no, it’s him. It’s Michael!” She spun away from the window and quickly began her advance on Nesado who was sitting in the dining room. He looked as cool as a cucumber, completely unaffected by anything or anyone around him. During her trek in his direction, Isabel pointed up the stairs and in a voice as cool as ice, clearly stated ‘don’t mess with me,’as she spewed out orders. “Get your keister up those steps right now, and don’t you dare even think about showing your face down here until someone either comes to get you or calls you down!”

Expressionless, Nesado just sat there staring at Isabel. *Looks like we need to have a talk about protocol. The sooner Michael and Isabel learn I don’t take orders from anyone other than from King Zan, correction, King Max the better off things are going to be.*

Isabel quickly realized Nesado had no intention of moving from his seat and it made her furious. She was one of the Royal Four and he was supposed to listen to her. She stomping her foot in aggravation and she raised her voice an octave to make her point. “Unless you want Michael walking through that door and witnessing you and I in the middle of a physical confrontation I’d advise you to get up those steps now!” Seeing this still wasn’t working, she slightly changed tactics and added, “No? Then fine! What do you think is going to happen when Max finds out that you used your powers on me, because I can assure you it will take nothing short of that to keep me from making you pay dearly if Michael finds out you are here before Max gets back!”

Nesado didn’t even try to hide his amusement. *Well it turns out this princess has some real fire in her belly after all.*

Nesado stood to his feet and made his way to the stairs after deciding it was best not to make the situation worse between himself, Max, and the others. However, he didn’t make it up the stairs in time to prevent what came next.
***
All afternoon Michael had been feeling very anxious for a reason he couldn’t quite put his finger on. At first he thought it was because of the two men with the strange salt fetish, but somehow he knew there was more to the uneasy feeling in his gut. The next possibility to come to mind was that something had happened to Max and Liz. Why he only thought of the two of them and not the others raised even more questions. Michael wondered if it had to do with instincts of protecting the king, or if perhaps it was just his need to protect them because they appeared to be the key to all the answers he’d been looking for all of these years?

Even that theory was dismissed after talking to Isabel on the phone and learning Max and Liz were fine; that the two of them had been with the others until just a few minutes prior. In the end, after hearing the purpose for her call was to let him and Maria know that Max had called a meeting for tonight, this again added to his anxieties. Why would Max call a meeting without telling him anything about the reason why?

He tried telling himself there was nothing to worry about, that this meeting was a good thing. They probably had good news to share; perhaps what they had all been hoping for had finally happened. He hoped that Max and Liz had finally received another vision; maybe something they were nervous about sharing with the group.
***
Maria was completely caught of guard when Michael grabbed hold of her hand and practically dragged her out of the café as soon as their shift ended. “What was that all about Spaceboy?”
She asked as she put on his spare helmet and climbed on his motorcycle behind him.

“There’s something going on with Max and Liz, and I have to find out what it is.”

“What are you talking about, something going on between Max and Liz? We all know what is going. . .”

Michael cut her off, not letting her finish what she was saying. “I’m not talking about their relationship here Maria. There is something else going on here, and I for one have to find out what it is.”

“I don’t understand what you’re taking about. Would you please . . .”

“Don’t okay! I don’t know what this is about. All I know is Max has called a meeting and I’ve had this very uneasy feeling for the last couple of hours. Now we can either sit here and discuss this all night or we can go find out what Max has to tell us.” He didn’t wait for her response before revving up the engine and pulling way from the Crashdown.

Maria noticed that the closer they got to their destination, the more rigid Michael held his body. Whatever he was feeling was obviously really getting to him. The best she could figure, Michael was experiencing some strong vibes. The big question was who and where were they coming from? And why was he getting them? One thing Maria had learned from her own experiences with vibes she’d get about people was to always trust those vibes, because more times than not, they turned out to be right on the money.

After parking in front of Tess’s, and while she was taking her helmet off, he turned to her placing a strong grip on her arm. “Maria, I want you to wait here until I know what’s going on.”

“No way Michael, you’re not leaving me out here by myself. I’m going with you!”

“No you’re not! I said wait here, and that’s exactly what you’re going to do!”

“No I’m not! I’m going with you!”

He lowered his voice, making sure to emphasize each word. “You’re staying here and that’s final! I don’t need to be worrying about you getting in the way if something goes down in there.”

Maria was sure she had him now, and sarcastically stated, “Oh, so it’s okay for me to be out here, by myself, in the open, without protection, because you think I’ll be in the way if I go with you?!”

“Right!” He knew he’d pay for his answer later, but figured if it worked it was worth it.

“Donkey dung! Either we go in there together or you’re not going! Because there’s not a darn thing you can do to keep me from following you.”

Frustrated with her persistence and matter-of-fact tone, he simply said her name as a warning. “Maria!”

“I mean it Michael!” She retorted, determined that she wasn’t going to be left behind.

Michael rolled his eyes and began walking toward the door. Feeling her close on his heals, he gave one last order and hoped she would listen this time. “Stay behind me, and don’t do anything stupid.”

The smile of victory on her face was short lived when she realized what she’d just won. She was possibly walking into a dangerous situation, a situation were she had no way of protecting herself. What was she going to do if there were FBI agents in there, or evil aliens; dazzle them with a smile or talk their ears off? Assuming they even had ears.

Feeling vulnerable, all of a sudden she reached for his right hand. Michael stopped in his tracks turning to face her. He extracted his hand from hers, and raised it in a manner to emphasizes his next statement. “I think I might need this hand. Remember powers, hand?”

“Oh, right! Sorry!” She waited for him to start walking again and then grabbed hold of the back of his shirt. Michael almost said something then decided against it when he realized that at least this way he knew she was doing as he asked and staying behind him.

As they approached the door, they could both hear Isabel yelling about something. They couldn’t quite make out what she was saying, but by the pitch of her voice they knew she was seriously angry. Michael opened the door cautiously, half expecting to walk in on some major battle between Ice Princess Isabel and King Max.

The sight of Ed Harding heading up the steps, with Isabel yelling at him with a scared and angry expression on her face, set all of his defenses. His hand flew up and he gathered all the power he had preparing to char this creep for all the hell he’d put Tess, Max and Liz through.

Witnessing what was about to happen, Kyle and Alex moved out of the way as fast as they could. There was no way they were going to put themselves between Michael and the object of his anger. Tess also moved back, but she was diligently trying to get Michael to calm down long enough to listen to reason.

The only one keeping Michael from releasing his power was Isabel, who looked like a deer caught in head lights, afraid to move. Michael yelled for her to get clear, but she still remained in the direct path between him and Nesado. “Move Isabel, I’m going to blast myself an evil shape shifting alien.”

“No Michael! You can’t do that! You don’t understand! He’s here to help us, to warn us.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me! Have you all gone nuts? This is the same guy who has lied to Tess all of her life and caused a whole lot of pain for her, Max, and Liz. He kidnapped Liz, almost got her killed might I add, and through it all lead Pierce straight to Max and the rest of us.

At this point, Tess moved to Michael’s side. “No we haven’t forgotten any of it. And if anyone of us should want to see him pay it would be me, but we can’t kill him. He knows things, things we need to know. No one is saying trust him, but Max still wants us to hear him out and then we will make our decision.” Hoping she was getting through to him at this point, she placed her hand on the back of his raised hand and tried to get him to lower it.

Feeling his resistance, Tess turned to look pleadingly at Maria, hoping she would help defuse this situation. Maria, understanding Tess’s silent plea, took hold of his arm slowly pulling it down while speaking in soothing tones. “Michael, come on now. You don’t want to do this, I know you don’t.”

“Look! Isabel isn’t going move until you calm down a bit and I know you would never do anything to hurt her and you can’t get to him unless you were to hurt her in the process. Please Michael, lower your hand and we’ll keep a close eye on him. If he tries anything funny you’ll see it.”

Michael slowly let Maria bring his arm down to his side where she clung to it like her life depended on it. “That’s it Spaceboy, just take it easy and well get this all worked out.”Except from part six:

Pulling onto Tess’s street, Max felt a surge of panic at the sight of Michael’s motorcycle sitting in front of her house. In hopes of preventing an explosive situation, he’d hoped to head Michael off before he found out that Nesado was back in town. Knowing Michael, he probably blasted Nesado on sight for all the bull he’d filled Tess with over the years. And more than likely Nesado end up knocking him on his butt like he’d heard of him doing the last time Michael tried using his powers on him.

Chapter Eight

***
The neighborhood seemed unusually quiet as Max parked the Jeep in the Harding’s driveway. This, as well as the nervous energy he felt emulating from Liz, caused the nervous knots already in his stomach to intensify to an almost painful level. He turned to face Liz, taking her hands reassuringly into his own hoping to ease both of their troubled minds. With a small gesture of his head toward the house he jokingly said, “At least the house is still standing, should we go in and see if Michael still is?” Unfortunately it didn’t sound as light hearted as he’d intended it to.

Still, Liz seemed to appreciate his effort and graced him with a faint smile. Even though he felt like stalling for more time, he knew they had to go inside. They needed to find out what else Nesado could tell them about who their enemies were and try and explain what they’d already learned to Michael. After taking a deep breath to calm those nervous knots in his stomach, Max climbed out of the jeep. Rounding it quickly to Liz’s side he offered her his hand which she accepted with out hesitation.

“I suppose it’s time to face the music”, he mumbled softly to himself as he lead her toward the front door. He hadn’t really intended for Liz to hear that but she did. From their conversation earlier, she knew he was worried about more than what Michael may or may not have done when he arrived and found Nesado inside. His true concerns were about having to convince the others to go along with the safety precaution she and Max had talked about earlier. She ran her free hand up his arm reassuringly and responded by saying, “It’s going to work out Max. Michael and the others will understand why we need to this, you’ll see.”

With a crooked half smile on his face, Max nodded in agreement letting her know he appreciated that she was now the one trying to reassure him.

Before they even had a chance to reach the house, the front door flew open and out stormed Michael. “I can’t believe you Maxwell! Leaving Isabel, Tess, and two humans here all alone to keep an eye on Nesado, while you take Liz off for a role in the hay! Did you even think about their safety for one minute. I’ll bet not, because these days the only head your thinking with is hung between your legs!”

Michael’s behavior and sharp words stung Max to the core and he wasn’t going to let it continue. His eyes turned as black as the darkest night as he fixed an unwavering glare on Michael. With a voice echoing the same anger and a sternness that even he didn’t know he was capable of, he silenced Michael before the next thought could enter his mind. “That’s more than enough Michael! Now get inside and shut that mouth of yours before I do!” Max didn’t bother waiting for Michael to move. With firm but gentle clasp on Liz’s hand, he pushed his way past Michael and lead Liz inside.
***
All of those inside had gathered around the front window and door to see and hear what was being said between Max and Michael. Ever since Michael had relented his attach stance against Nesado, he’d been growing more and more angry about what they could only assume was Max’s absence. The minute they all heard the engine of the Jeep, they all had turned their eyes on Michael wondering what he was going to do. Collectively they were surprised when he didn’t even flinch, but instead remained perfectly still. At that point they’d all began to think he was going to wait for Max to come inside before giving him a piece of his mind. Then suddenly he’d been on the move and out the door before anyone could stop him.

Michael had done pretty much what they’d expected, but Max’s reaction caught them all, with the exception of one, completely off guard. It wasn’t like Max to take on such a cold demure with Michael. They’d fought and argued before but never had any of them seen Max hold his body so tall and rigid, like a man who carried unwavering authority over another.

It wasn’t until they were all inside with the door closed that Max turned his attention back to Michael. His mouth opened to speak, but before his thoughts could leave his tongue, Liz’s gentle voice stopped him. “Max, please. You can’t let what he said get to you. He’s angry and right now he doesn’t understand. Blowing up at him isn’t going to help our cause right now. This. . ., our working together, is more important.” He lowered his gaze, bring it to meet with hers. As soon as their eyes met his returned to a warm amber.

The room which had been stagnant, began to breathe again when Max’s expressions softened. You would hear the collective sighs of relief. Facing Michael once again, Max began to explain himself and his actions to Michael; not out of obligation, but out of courtesy.

“Listen Michael, you may not have liked my choice, but it was mine to make. Regardless of what you think, I wouldn’t have left them here alone with Nesado if I thought they were in any danger. I’m not saying I trust Nesado. I would think you of all people would know me better than that. What I am saying is that I’ve realized something you obviously haven’t. If he wanted us dead, he wouldn’t have come to us the way he did and we would already be dead. It wouldn’t have taken much effort on his part to pick us off one by one. As to why Liz and I left, there are several reasons . . .”

“Yeah, your hormones and hers.” Michael commented sarcastically. “Look, it’s never been a secret what you two use my apartment for, and up until now I’d say I’ve been very tolerant. But when you start putting your sexual needs before the safety of the group you’ve gone too far. Now, if this had been one of your flash induced moments, and nothing happened here, I might have been able to look past it; but unless you have something more to tell us, then I’m going to assume it wasn’t, and I’m not.”

“Sniff some of Maria’s cedar oil Michael and shut up! It’s time for you to listen and listen good because I’m only going to say this once. I’m not denying that Liz and I needed some time alone. What we do during that time alone is our business, not yours. It isn’t now, nor will it ever be up for discussion. You are right about us not receiving any new clues or flashes at this point, but then we don’t have any control over that. That’s really not the point here, at least not for Liz and I. You see we aren’t together for the flashes. We are together because we love each other. The flashes are something that came after the fact. Now if you want to be angry with me, fine; but don’t let it control your judgement. With that said, I hope we can move on. We have some important decisions to make and I’d like to have everyone’s input. ”

Max had been so focused on his conversation with Michael that he failed to notice how anyone else in the room was being affected by what they were saying to each other, but Liz certainly did. She’d noticed how Kyle was rubbing his hands up and down Tess’ arms in a comforting manner. How despite Kyle’s efforts, Tess’s body stayed tense and her eyes remained transfixed on Ed Harding. From the look of it, it appeared that she was trying to judge what he was thinking by watching his expressions.

Liz began to look back and forth between the two of them until her eyes finally came to rest solely on the Shapeshifter. Without realizing what she was doing, Liz released her grip on Max’s hand and moved closer to Nesado. Something was driving her forward. She stopped a foot in front of him still staring deeply into his eyes.

Everyone in the room grew silent as they watched Liz’s movements. The concern Max was feeling because of Liz’s unusual behavior was evident in his voice as he called her name as well as in the protective stance he took behind her. “Liz?” Receiving no response, he placed his hand on her shoulder and hoped for some sign of awareness and a clue to what she was thinking.

Liz was so lost in her own thoughts and memories of her encounters with Nesado that she barely registered Max’s voice in the back of her mind. It wasn’t until she felt Max’s hand on her shoulder that she came out of her trance like state. Without warning, she raised her right hand, brought it across Nesado’s face as hard as she could. Nesado was on his feet in a flash and about to raise his hand to Liz; but one glimpse of the warning on Max’s face and he thought better of it. Liz simply stated, “I owed you that for everything you put me through that day you kidnapped me and the days that followed.”

Liz didn’t relinquish her stance, but continued to stare into his eyes. She could feel the concern coming from Max, and placed her hand on top of his letting him know that she was fine. “I want, no we all want, to know why are you here Nesado? The real reason, from start to finish, and don’t leave anything out.”

Nesado didn’t say anything at first; it wasn’t until Max spoke up, “You heard her! Now start taking.”

“As you wish your Highness.” Nesado couldn’t help thinking about how close he was walking to the edge on this one. Nesado motioned for them all to sit down and make themselves comfortable as he pondered what he should and shouldn’t say. *Should I tell them about Olan? What choice do I have, I can’t disobey an order from my King. But what kind of consequences are we talking about here? If they know he is out there somewhere watching them, would they try to approach him if they were to spot him? With them being on the lookout for the enemies there’s a good chance they will spot someone watching them eventually. If they were to approach an enemy the consequences could be dire. And yet, what if they were to spot him and confront him thinking he was their enemy? It would be best if they knew what to look for; to know the difference, to know who he is.*

Directing his attention solely to Max, Nesado began to try and explain what they wanted to know. “I came back to Roswell in order to see how things where going with you, Tess, Michael and Isabel as couples and as a unit. I was upset and shocked to discover that instead of pairing off with each other as I thought you were supposed to, you had each paired off with a human. I was on my way up to Tess’s room in hopes of discovering from her what had gone wrong, but I was stopped.”

“Stopped? By how or what?” Asked Maria from the far corner of the room.

The expression on Max’s face told him that he too wanted to know the answer to this question, which was what Nesado had expected anyway. “I was asked not mention any of this to you, but as my King, your request for all the details surrounding why I am here supercedes that request and the authority by which it was asked. However, I reserve the right to with withhold the name of whom I speak of for his safety as well as your own.” Max indicated he was okay with this, at least for now, with a gentle nod of his head.

“I know your knowledge about your home and the others in our galaxy is practically non-existent as are their practices and beliefs, so I’m going to have to give you a little history lesson first. Most believe in and follow the teachings of the one called a Seer, the best way to describe her is she’s a cross between a priestess and a fortune teller. She is held in very high regard because of her gifts, being second only to the King and Queen. Even they have been known to have sought out her wisdom when it came to traditions of our worlds and regarding the affairs of their people. It was through her power in conjunction with that of the orbs that you and your three companions were sent to Earth.”

“Because of the number of people scattered among our many planets, the Seer choose several people from each to act as advocates in her behalf. To each was given a medallion made by the Seer herself and it is worn around his or her neck. Some believe the medallions were made with sacred properties, thus accounting for the direct link between the Seer and the Advocates as well as the additional powers the one wearing it possesses. The medallion I’ve been telling you about looks exactly like the orbs you have, only they are a miniature version.”

“From what you’ve told us, it would be really easy to jump to the conclusion that you are after the orbs and the power you think they possess.”

“It’s true, you could think that. However, you would only think that if you didn’t know only those chosen by the Seer can use them. I have not been chosen but you obviously have ben and this is why you are being lead to them. Let me finish what I was saying.” Feeling he’d appropriately extinguished any thoughts along the lines of him wanting to take the orbs for personal gain, Nesado proceeded with his history lesson.

“There is only one time in each persons life when they can beseech a direct link with the Seer and that is when they come of age to take a mate. A young man or woman accompanied by his or her family goes to the garden adjacent to the Seer’s estate, and with the orbs provided them they enter the Circle Crest. While in the circle they focus on opening their minds, their thoughts to the orb which they hold in their hand. They continue to do this until the answer of whom is best suited as their mate is revealed. Max, it is because I know your parents preformed this ceremony with you that I don’t understand why you chose a human as your mate instead of the one that was revealed during the ceremony by the Seer. I understand I made a mistake and confused Tess with Isabel, but you should still have felt the connection and been drawn together, not feel some drawn to these humans.”

It now makes since to Max why Nesado believed they were to be paired off with each other. Even though he’d made it clear he didn’t like humans, it wasn’t those feelings that ruled his actions when raising Tess. It appeared that he’d been going on what he believed to be true, just as he’d been saying. It made perfect since he didn’t know about the second ceremony. No one attended it with the exception of him and his fellow hybrids. “I think Liz and I have seen the ceremony you’re talking about and let’s just say that Isabel, Michael, Tess, and I were later inspired to return to the circle and repeat the ceremony. The second time it was just the four of us and the mates we were shown were different than the first time.” Max and Liz shared a brief kiss, both knowing they were truly meant to be together.

Max’s revelation left Nesado’s mind whirling with unanswered questions, *How is this possible? The Seer has never paired the wrong people together; her record is beyond reproach. And why would they be shown a different mate than they had been the first time? How did they even manage a second time? The only way that would have been was by . . .* His thoughts were interrupted. The question that would answer all his other questions came to mind. “Let me get this straight, you’re telling me the four of you where approached by one of the Advocates, and that he or she extended you an invitation for a second audience with the Seer?”

“An invitation? I’m not sure about that. We didn’t see anything like that in the flashes we received. All I can tell you is that we met under the cover of darkness and went to the circle in the garden.”

“Okay, answer this. In the images that you saw, did you have orbs in your hands when you preformed the ceremony?”

“Yeah, we each had one. Does that mean something?” The expression on Nesado’s normally expressionless face told Max that it did.

“Oh yeah, it means at least one Advocate was with you in the garden. You see, the only people who have orbs are those who have received them directly from the Seer. If you’d have done this on your own, there would have been no way for you to have possessed four orbs. One I can see; the King and Queen’s, but not four of them.

“As interesting as this all is, what purpose does it serve? We already know who we each want to be with, so this conversation is getting us no where.” No one was surprised to hear Michael’s impatient tone.

“This may not mean anything to you, but it explains some things for me.”

“That’s all grand and dandy, but this meeting isn’t about answering your questions; it’s about answering ours. Now if you plan to live long enough to ponder what we’ve told you, I suggest you start explaining what you want and why you came back!” Michael was growing more impatient with each passing minute.

Maria picked up on where this was originally leading long before they got off track, so she took it upon herself to summarize it up for those who hadn’t caught on. “Here’s the short version Michael. One of these Advocates he’s been talking about stopped him from confronting Tess and told him that we, the lowly humans aren’t so lowly after all, but that we are crucial to your planet’s survival. That’s why suddenly he’s not preaching to the four of you about how you belong to each other and why Max shouldn’t waist his time with Liz, and you with me.”

“Is she right? Is there one of these Advocate guys hanging around?” Inquired Isabel, who had been setting quietly beside Alex. The idea of one more good guy out there was lifting her spirits.

“Yes, but I must remind you, don’t try and seek him out.” Nesado said this looking straight at Michael. His biggest concern was that Michael would do just that. “If he wants to talk to you, if he has anything he feels you should know, he will come to you. However, if that day ever comes, and someone does approach you and claims to be the Advocate, be sure to ask to see his medallion and make sure it’s really him and not someone pretending to be him.”

“Give us a break would you? We aren’t kindergartners you know.” Retorted Michael taking a personal offence to the way Nesado seemed to be directing all that he was saying right towards him.

After seeing movie after movie of ways people could fool others into believing they were someone they weren’t, Kyle couldn’t help questioning the possibility of something like this happening with this Advocate. “If the only thing there is to identify this advocate is his medallion, what’s to keep someone from killing him, taking it, then showing it to us. Heck they wouldn’t even have to do that. They could make a fake one, just like the fake badges that tend to float around here in the good old U. S. of A.?”

“Or what about there being an Advocate that has turned to the dark side? You know, helping the enemies to win this war?”

Nesado could tell Alex was being serious, but he couldn’t help but chuckle. It’s had been a long time since he’d heard anything he found funny. “You don’t have to worry about any of those things happening. If one of the advocates were to turn to the dark side as you put it, I’m sure that through her connection, the Seer would make them take off the medallion.

“How do you know so much about the Seer and her Advocates? Does it have to do with this? Isabel pulls the pendant out from under her clothes as she approaches Nesado. She holds it up for him to see.

Nesado takes the pendent in his hand and runs his thumb over the swirled design. “This has the same symbol as the Advocate’s medallion does, but whatever you do, don’t confuse the two. The Advocate’s medallion is a miniature orb; not flat and shaped like this one. This is simply a pendent; it holds no power. Think of it like the cross many people on Earth wear. It’s just something to remind one of the things the Seer has done for our people. This particular pendent belonged to one of the other protectors and I kept it after her death as a reminder. Later, I left it with Atherton as a sign for you; something to show you that he could be trusted. I gave the other part to Riverdog for similar reasons, only in reverse.”

Although Max was finding much of this interesting, it wasn’t what they needed to be talking about right now. He decided it was time to talk about more important things. “Nesado, these enemies you were telling us about earlier; how close do you think they are to finding out who we are and what can we do to protect ourselves as well as Liz, Maria, Alex, Kyle, the Sheriff, and our families?”

“Enemies!? What enemies are you talking about Maxwell and why is this the first I’m hearing about this?!”

“Michael! We’ve always known there are people out there that would hurt us if they knew who we were. Like Nesado told us awhile back, when the orbs are activated they send out a signal. Our enemies, the enemies of our people, can track these signals. And from what Nesado said earlier, with each new orb we locate a new signal is sent out allowing them to close in on us.”

TBC



Mary N

Edited by - Mary N OO8 on 09/06/2001 10:32:14
posted on 5-Sep-2001 10:37:20 AM by Mary N OO8
Chapter Nine

When Diane Evans arrived home from work she quickly switched the load of laundry she’d run earlier in the day from the washer to the dryer and started a fresh load. She then made her way into the kitchen were she turned on her favorite radio station and started the preparations of the evening meal.

Her favorite time of the day was when her family gathered around the table to talk about the days events. As of late, it was one of the few moments she could count on spending with Max, Isabel, and Phillip. They all had such busy lives these days. Between the firm, which took up most of her and Phillip’s time, Max’s job, and his and Isabel’s friends; it just seemed they dinner was the only time when they were all together. She’d hoped it would be different now that her kids were out of school of the summer, but over the last week it seemed they were even busier than before.

Sliding dinner into the oven, she heard the buzzer on the dryer indicating that the load was done. Switching the load once again, she folded the clothes, loaded them into a basket and set off for Max’s room to leave his clothes on his bed for him to put away when he got home. Balancing the basket against her hip she reached for his door handle and pushed the door open only to be greeted by the sound of an unusual rhythmic beeping coming from somewhere inside. Casually she looked around for the source of the noise as she set the basket down at the foot of his bed.

At first she thought it might have been the alarm on his clock radio going off; however, this was quickly ruled out, as was his stereo. With the two most logical sources ruled out, she began to listen more closely for the source of the beeping. Zeroing in on the sound, Diane opened the closet door and started checking the boxes that Max used to store and organize his belongings on the upper shelf.

After checking all the boxes within her reach and without disturbing any of his other belongings stored within the closet, she bent down and began moving shoes and other such things out of the way. This would enable her to reach the last two stacks of boxes without stepping all over his things. With the shoes now out of the way, she noticed an old military style duffel bag. She wasn’t particularly worried about the bag since it appeared to be empty. Standing back up, she reached upward for the next stack of boxes. It being an uncomfortable reach, she shifted her feet hitting something hard inside of the bag as she did so. Upon impact with the baseboard she heard a loud thump, which caused her to worry that whatever was inside the bag may have been damaged.

She bent down once again and opened the bag while gathering the fabric in her hands to make it easier to see deep inside the bag. Spotting what looked to be a smooth oval shaped rock, she reached inside and pulled the object free so she could examine it more closely. In the light it didn’t look like a rock at all. Instead, it looked to be made out of some kind of metal. She ran her hand over the smooth texture. As she flipped it over in her hand she noticed a spiral insignia engraved or inset into it. The insignia seemed familiar for some reason but she couldn’t place from where.

The continual beeping was still coming from above her on the shelf and it was rapidly vexing havoc on her nerves. Needing to put a stop to it, she slipped the orb back into the bag and resumed her search for whatever was generating the obnoxious noise.

After searching three more boxes she finally came across the right one. Removing the lid from the box, Diane expected to find an electrical devise of some sort but nothing like what she actually uncovered.

Inside the box lay a beautiful octagon shaped object made of deep dark emerald green with eight large glistening pale blue-white gems. At first she thought it was an extremely large cut and polished sapphire until she realized it was solid and not translucent. Under further examination, she realized it wasn’t a crystal, gem, or even a stone at all, but was actually some kind of metal. For a fleeting moment she speculated that it was merely a beautiful mounting created as a display for the eight exquisite stones which were set into it; one in each of the eight corners along the smooth top surface.

However, that thought was quickly dismissed as the eight gems continued blinking in sequence with the rhythmic and annoying beeping emulating from the object. For reasons other than its beauty, Diane couldn’t take her eyes off of it. Engraved in the heart of the object was the same insignia she’d seen on the ecliptic object she’d returned to Max’s bag a few minutes before.

Not seeing an off switch of any kind, she reached into the box to pick it up with the intent of turning it over and checking the backside. As her fingers come in contact with the cool metal for the first time the beeping stopped. A pale blue glow radiated from a single stone, the one located at the bottom right or southeast corner.

Contemplating the fact that both items, the object in the box and the one in the bag, shared the same marking it only made sense that they had come from the same place or that they were designed by the same person. What she couldn’t understand was how Max had come upon them and why he would hide them? She sat the box down on the ground and retrieved the orb from the bag. Carrying both items out of Max’s room, Diane headed for the family room. Not even halfway there it dawned on her that she had indeed seen the same spiral symbol before. Realizing where, she took a quick detour and headed up the stairs to Isabel’s room where she proceeded to search through her jewelry box.

Normally Diane would never think to invade her children’s privacy, but her inner voices were saying something was wrong with all of this, and that the spiral insignia was the key if only she could find all of the pieces.
*****
Max didn’t really want to get into a conversation with Michael about the dangers they would have to face from their enemies every time they found another orb. It served no purpose since there was nothing they could do to stop it or change it. He turned his attention back to Nesado and reiterated his previous question. “Is there anything we could watch for? A habit perhaps or a marking of some sort? Anything to identify them before they can identify us.”

“Identifying our enemies is first priority, but it may prove to be rather difficult.” Of course this was only to point out the obvious, but it had to be said before he could further explain what lay ahead for them. “Over the years I’ve speculated why we were sent to this planet. Why Earth? I could only come up with three reasons that truly made since. The first was that the distance between this galaxy and ours made the transporting of their armies more difficult. The fewer of them that were here, the better your chances were for survival.”

“The second reason is not all of the species from our home galaxy can survive here. This limits which species the leaders of your enemies could be send here. The toxicity of Earth's air and environment would be unbearable for those from Karpai, so we can rule them as a possible threat at this point. We can also rule out the Ozina. They don’t function well in anything less than the most humid of climates.”

Alex quips, "I guess that the rainforest at the Albuquerque Zoo is out of the question." While everyone groaned at Alex's pun, Isabel grabbed one of the couch pillows and whacked him over the head with it. Alex ducks and whines at Isabel, ""What did I do? Was it something I said?" Their friends start laughing at their antics, relieving some of the stress previously in the room.

With a slight smile on his face, Nesado raised an eye brow while shaking his head from side to side. He found their behavior humorous as well, but he didn’t understand their timing. Feeling it was imperative for him to continue telling them about the other planets in the galaxy, he picked up where he left off.

“With two out of the five species from our galaxy eliminated as possible threats, our task of identifying who is looking for you just got a little easier. Those remaining are of course my own people; shapeshifters called Macpa. Next there are the Lenohtians. They are broken up into three fraction. The one you have to worry about call themselves the Warriors of Lenohti. Last but not least . . .”

"What are they some sort of alien Leo or something?" Maria screeched in panic, interrupting Nesado once again. “Warriors! No one said anything about us going up against trained warriors. . . .” She babbles on and on, effectively putting an end to their conversation for a good five minutes.

By this time Isabel was getting annoyed, “Michael can you shut up your girlfriend?” In Michael's experience, there was only one sure method of accomplishing such a request. Smirking dangerously, he wrapped his arm around her slim waist, pulled her securely against him and ravished her lips.

By now Nesado was getting frustrated. They didn't have time for games or interruptions. This was business, and it had to be handled in a professional manner. "Do you think we could get through the rest of this without further outbursts by these insolent humans?"

This declaration caused everyone, including the so call insolent humans, to glare at Nesado. All of their glares combined however, didn’t have quite the same effect as the stern look he received from Max. Clearing the lump from his throat, Nesado resumed telling them about those who could poses a threat to them. “The last species from our galaxy would be the Antarians, your own people. The ones higher in authority have the most reason to want you dead. You are a threat to their way of life. The good news and not so good news is that they are the ones with the power and the money, but they tend to be thinkers not doers. They would hire someone to do the dirty work for them.”

“Our own people want us dead? Why? What do you mean we are a threaten their way of life?” Inquired Max. He couldn’t comprehend why so many people would want them dead, especially if the Royal Four was held in such high regard.

Feeling Max’s distress, Liz showed her support by shifting a little closer and squeezing his hand tighter within her own. Max gave her an appreciative smile before planting a kiss against her temple.

“Don’t you two ever get enough?” Isabel asked as she watch her brother and Liz giving each other googly eyes. Sitting beside her, Alex added, “Yeah, some of us are trying to keep our lunches down.”

Tess and Kyle have been sitting on the piano bench being awfully quiet through all of this. Tess was still feeling uncomfortable with Nesado in the room and Kyle was just trying to take it all in.

“I haven’t explained all of this quite right. . .”


Chapter Ten

“I haven’t explained all of this quite right. . .” Nesado pressed on, “. . . ,because you are obviously under a misconception here. We are all one people, just different species living on different planets. Much like Earth and it’s different races and countries. This war isn’t about you per say. It’s about what you represent. The Seer has foretold of a time when we will no long segregate ourselves by species, but truly unite as one people; not just under the rule of one King and his leadership, but in unity.”

“The other important thing is, not everyone wants to see you four dead. The majority of the people want to see this change happen, especially those who follow and believe in the Seer. It’s only a small number from each world that want to see things stay as they are now.”

“You’re telling us, everything we have been put through, everything we still have to go through, is all because of some stupid war about race or species? It’s all because of some arrogant SOB’s who can’t look beyond the packaging a person comes in, to the person on the inside?” Tess is furious; she can’t help herself. Nesado had been teaching her to act just like the people who wanted to kill her, to dislike humans just because they were different than she was. Now here he was, fighting on the side of unity. The irony of this didn’t go unnoticed by any of the group. “Does this sound like anyone you know? I mean come on! You have been teaching me this same shit all of my life!”

Tess moved from Kyle's side to get a closer look at the man who'd turned her life into the shambles it had become. Her voice dripping with sarcasm, she through his words back at him. “Humans aren’t the same as you are, Tess. You’re better than they are. You are supposed to be with others like yourself. You were made to be with Max, he’s the same as you. Humans are your enemy. They all want to put you under a microscope and see what makes you tick. Humans are dust under our feet, Tess. They are insignificant.”

Nesado raised an eyebrow at this. He’d never really thought of what he’d been doing in this way before. Perhaps this was the very reason some of their own people were having such a hard time changing; they were passing their own hatreds and disdain from one generation to the next. “Perhaps.” Was Nesado’s initial response; but seeing the hateful looks he was still receiving he decided it best to add, “You have most definitely given me something to think about when we have concluded here.”

Tess was still fuming. She wanted Nesado to pay for his mistakes; to pay for all of the pain he’d caused her. “Something to think about? Is that all you have to say? Something to think about, after all the pain you’ve caused me over the years! Do you have any idea how it feels to grow up hearing how you have to be with your own kind when there are only three others like you in the whole world, or even your own galaxy?”

Across the room, Kyle is watching and listening to Tess closely as she rips into Nesado with her angry words. He didn’t need to look around the room at the others present to know they could also feel her pain and anguish. She’d been robbed of a happy childhood all in the name of racial hatred; or was that species hatred?”

He desperately wanted to pull her into his embrace and sooth her pain away, but his gut told him she needed to get this all out of her system in order for the healing to begin. Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.

Liz had to do something. She couldn’t just sit there watching someone, especially someone she knew and cared about, be so distraught and not do something to comfort them. Slipping free of Max’s grasp, she cautiously moved toward Tess not wanting to startle her. Feeling a hand grasp hold of her arm, she turned to see who’d stopped her.

Kyle couldn’t let Liz intervene, “She needs to do this Liz.” He glanced up at Tess, who was still going off at Nesado, and then back to Liz. “She needs to get it out of her system before it eats her up inside.”

Tess was on a roll, and there was no sign of her letting up any time soon. “Or about how everyone around you would hate you if they knew what and who you really are? To hear that you are so unique; not special mind you, but unique, that there is only one possible person for you to be with. You spend years trying to find him. In the back of your mind you begin to wonder if someone found out about him and has done all the horrible things to them that you’ve been told would be done to you if you were ever discovered? Not to mention that when you do find said person, they don’t want to be with you because they have found someone else they would rather be with? You turned my life into a living hell and all you can say to me is that you will think about it. I don’t think so. I . . . . ”

Kyle was physically relieved when Tess fell silent. The time had finally come when he could do more than just stand by and watch her pain. He knew it was time to offer her a safe with his love she needed. Refraining from touching her due to his own insecurities and his fear of igniting her anger once again, Kyle showed his love and concern by whispering soothing words into her ear. Surprise and relief appeared on his face as she instantaneously turned and buried her face against his chest, her body trembling as tears poured forth from her aqua eyes.

As their friends looked on talking in whispers , Kyle continued to offer solace to Tess as she clung to the front of his shirt, her face buried against his chest. She seemed so fragile and small at the moment, not like the strong person he’d become so accustomed to seeing. In the time he’d known her, he’d only seen her brake down once before, and even then she hadn’t seemed this distraught.

Tess couldn’t believe she had allowed her emotions to get the better of her. To blow up at Nesado and then to breakdown like as she had in front of everyone. What was happening to her? Had all of the time she’d spent with Kyle, Liz, Max, and the others softened her this much? Had she really let down her shields to the point she could no longer hold back the emotions in times of distress? Feeling Kyle’s hand moving up and down the spine of her back, Tess felt a calming wave engulf her senses. Her thoughts and concerns about giving into her emotions quickly subsided. If allowing herself to be in Kyle’s arms; feeling safe, loved, and wanted was the reward of having emotions, then she was willing to suffer and endure pain and anguish.

Max really wanted to give everyone a chance to recover and absorb all that had happened and all they had heard, but he knew he couldn’t. To leave things as the stood now was to ask for trouble; the kind of trouble they may not get a second chance to correct.

“Tess, I know this is hard for you and I really hate to press forward right now, but Isabel and I have to be home in less than an hour. If we are going to get though what we need to tonight we really have to get back on track..”

“It’s okay Max, I’ll be fine.” Tess avowed. As long as Kyle stayed nearby, she was pretty sure she could handle anything else Nesado had to throw at them. Besides, she really didn’t want to be the one responsible for holding this meeting up any longer; not when they still had a lot to talk about.

“Okay then”, was Max’s reply before redirecting everyone’s attention back to the one with the information they needed. “Nesado, I believe you were about to tell us the third reason why you believed we were sent to Earth instead of somewhere else.”

Nesado had been lost in his own thoughts when Max said his name. He never claimed to be the best father figure, but to be confronted with the fact that he’d done such a horrific job of it was something he hadn’t expected. He’d done the best he knew how. It wasn’t supposed to be his job at all to raise the Royal Four, not even one of them. He was only supposed to protect them. There had been others on board the ship that had been better suited for the parental role.

In addition, he realized for the first time that he had been fighting for a change within his own people, a change he himself hadn’t been willing to make when it came to a species he considered to be inferior. Was this the same opinion many of his people had toward the other species of his own galaxy? Realization that Max was talking to him interrupted his thoughts on the matter and brought them back to the problem at hand, but only after he decided to give this further contemplation later.

Chapter Eleven

“Right, the third reason. This is probably the most relevant one of them all. The physical similarities, both external and internal, between Antarians and Humans have allowed the four of you to move about amongst the population of this world with a low risk of detection and the same will be true when you return home. No one, other than those you wish to share the information with, will know you are not of pure Antarian blood. Secondly, the similarities between your species and the humans allowed for an easier time of it when it came to mixing the two DNA’s, therefore increasing the chance for success in doing so.”

“There is however one problem with picking a species that shares so many external similarities. Not only are these similarities shared with Antarians and Humans, but also with many of the other species of our galaxy. You see; the various species of our galaxy are all, for the most part, very similar on the outside. And those of us who aren’t are close enough to recreate them, or like myself, emulate them.”

“Wait a second. If Max and the others look human on the outside in their natural state, then why go through all the hassle of mixing their DNA with human DNA? Wouldn’t it have been easier to send them down in their natural state? I mean, as long as the alien DNA is still present there is still a possibility of someone finding out who they are anyway.”

Thinking logically, as she tended to do, none of this was making sense to Liz. The entire process of mixing human and alien DNA seemed unnecessary and, in fact, a complete waste of time and effort in fact. Because of this fact and the many questions her scientific mind was coming up with, she needed to understand the logic behind their actions. With Liz’s question lingering in the air, others in the group began questioning the same thing.

With all the time that had been wasted through out this meeting, Nesado had hoped to bypass this topic of conversation for a later time in order to concentrate on more important things. However, he could see how learning about their own heritage would be just as important, if not more important, to them than the differences between the various species in their galaxy. Even though he knew it wasn’t going to help them to defeat or discover the whereabouts of their enemies, he chose to answer hoping it would give them more piece of mind. He planned to keep the answer as simple as they would allow. “It’s like I told Michael awhile back. If you recall Michael, I told you that your powers were human.”

“Right, I remember you saying something like that. It was the day we broke Max out of the military installation. And I also recall you saying you would explain it later, but you left town and never did.”

“Well here goes, Biology lesson 101. The purpose for mixing human DNA with Antarian DNA was because Antarian’s don’t naturally possess the kinds of gifts the four of you have. Your powers are completely human, just advanced by about four thousand years. Even though the human race is. . . .” Nesado caught himself before saying, ‘single-minded and weak’. After all the trouble his other statement had caused during this meeting, he felt it best not to push his luck.
“Even though now they don’t exhibit these powers, that won’t always be the case. That is if they survive that long without either blowing themselves up or make an enemy out of the wrong species before they start tapping into the other ninety percent of their brain capacity.”

“Is that a bit of the old racism rearing it’s ugly head again?” Alex pointed out with a trace of humor. Even while trying to joke it off, he didn’t feel anything about this conversation was funny. Nesado’s arrogant ‘better than though’ attitude was getting on his last nerve.

“That wasn’t meant as a derogatory statement; merely a statement of fact. Humans, and more precisely the leaders in charge, have to learn the answer to their problems isn’t in blowing up large numbers of the population or the planet in which they live. Let’s not get side tracked again, we still have much to cover in a short time.”

Nesado paused for a moment pondering in what direction he should take this conversation. “It’s the differences between the various species of our galaxy that may hold the key to discovering who our enemies are. These differences exist primarily on the cellular level. There are others, but they wouldn’t be something we would be able to detect without the proper equipment. The cellular differences effect the dietary needs of each species, such as those from Ozina. Their diet consists of vegetation and animal life from the sea. This is because their planet is 60% water, 35% ice mass, and only 5% land above sea level.”

“My own species isn’t restricted by dietary limitations, however, due to the amount of energy it takes for us to change from one form to another and then to maintain it, we do have certain dietary and physical requirements that need to be met. The first is our need to consume ample amounts of sugar. Fortunate for me, it’s not a dietary abnormality that draws attention to me; not when there are so many accessible sources such as soda pop and hard candies.”

“Talk about an excuse for a sweet tooth”, Alex quipped unable to resist. The room filled with momentary laughter.

Ignoring the outburst, Nesado resumed where he’d left off. “Under normal circumstances the other requirement is even easier to come by. It’s as easy as spending time out in the sun light absorbing the suns rays. My natural form is made primarily of electrons which I absorb from the sun’s rays through a process much like that of photosynthesis. The absorption of the electrons allows my cells to move within my outer skin at will. The problem with this is if I were to find myself in a dark place or somewhere with strictly artificial light for any great length of time, my life force would weaken and could eventually resulting in my death. The proximity of the Earth’s sun was yet another reason why this planet was the ideal place for the Royal Four to be safe guarded, because it allowed my species to continue to be your protectors; when you are off your own world, as it has been for generations.”

Liz stared at him in amazement thinking, *No wonder the scientists in the FBI were so interested the way his body worked. It’s remarkable.* There are a few questions she is dying to ask, and without hesitation she starts firing away. “If you can’t go without natural light; then how did you survive the trip from your planet to ours? And what about the time you spent in the FBI lab? Did you tell them you needed sunlight, or did they figure that out on their own? Is it the same process, the moving of cells, that leaves the silver hand print behind on the bodies you left behind or on me when Max healed me?”

“There are ways to simulate the electrons I need to survive through mechanical means. One of which ways was onboard our ship. The FBI discovered our weakness pretty early on and they used it to their advantage. They kept us weak, only allowing us enough sun light to keep us alive. I was fortunate. It was during one of those visits into a room that allowed the sun in that I’d found a way to escape. The hand print is residual effect of a combination of speeding up the cells and the energy being transferred from on person to another.”

“The other two species you have to worry about, your own and those from Lenohti. As I was telling you earlier, Antarians are mostly thinkers. They tend to be the healers, overseers, executives, scientists, as well holders of many other prominent positions. It was your own species that first discovered interplanetary travel and they were also the ones to uncover the secrets to the combine of cells from different species. You can pretty much thank your own people that you are alive and on this planet. However, they could also be the means of your demise. It all depends on what new discoveries and inventions they’ve made over the last fifty years.”

Max wonders if perhaps they aren’t as original as the previously thought. To find out one way or another, he asks, “The mixing of DNA between different species, is this something that has been done before on other intelligent life forms, or are we the first?”

“I can’t really say for sure. If they had done it before, I never heard anything about it.” Nesado answered honestly, only to be questioned further about it by Michael who was clearly growing nervous. “What do you mean by that, exactly?"

“I’m not a scientist Michael, I’m a protector. There would be no reason for them to share that kind of information with me.” Nesado looks at his watch and realized that they have only about twenty minutes left to wrap this all up before Max and Isabel have to leave. “Now to conserve time I’m going to try and cover this last part quickly.”

Receiving no argument, Nesado pressed forward. “The Warriors of Lenohti. It was rumored, but never proven, that they were responsible for your deaths the first time around. There is only one external difference between them and yourselves, but unfortunately it’s not something you can spot by just looking at them and it’s something that makes them more difficult to kill. Their flesh is stronger than that of a human. This has to do with the atmosphere of their planet. Everything from the air they breath to the water that they drink is highly enriched with Sodium Chloride. If I’m right, this could be the key to identifying them.”

Maria’s eyes grew large with awareness, “Oh my gosh! . . . . .”

Chapter Twelve

Maria’s eyes grew large with awareness, “Oh my gosh! Sodium, isn’t an other name for salt?”

“Yeah, why?” Maria heard several people around the room ask at once.

“Today, while working, Michael and I may have spotted something that fits into all of this.” Max looked from Maria to Michael and back again wonder what Maria was talking about. “What, what did you two see?”

“You all know how Kelly is always talking about some of the gross food combinations some people eat. The ‘gross scale’ she calls it. Well today she was complaining about two guys sitting in her section making a combination she found even more disgusting than Michael’s tabasco sauce and Cherry Coke. They looked like two normal every day kind of guys. Nothing really strange or noticeable about them other than the fact they were both kind of cute, clean cut, and dressed like they worked in some kind of office setting. You know, normal. But what was strange and I have to agree with Kelly on this one, what they concocted topped anything I’ve ever seen any of you guys eating. It was just gross.”

“Maria, if you don’t speed this up a bit, I’m going to finish it for you.” Michael informed Maria. He was getting tired of listening to her babble and wanted her to get to the point.

“Shut-up gorilla breath!” Maria teased, wanting to rub in the fact that she was right and he was wrong. “If I remember right, which we both know I do, you brushed the whole thing aside like it was no big deal. It was me that kept an eye on them even though you told me to drop it. It was me that pushed it. I went over to talk to them and found out that they were setting up an office a few doors down from the Crashdown. It was me, that. . . ”

“MARIA!” Everyone shouted only to be followed by Liz’s plea. “We are running short on time here and we still have so much more to talk about. So please, put us out of our misery and tell us what they did. What weird combination did they eat?”

“Salt. Tons and tons of salt! They poured a half a shaker full of salt into their Alien blood smoothies and then they used another shaker full for dipping every single bite of food they ate into it; like it was ketchup.” The groans of distaste could be heard through out the room.

Ten minutes passed as they discussed what they should and shouldn’t do about the two men that Maria was telling them about. It was decided they would take turns hanging out at the tables in front of the Crashdown. This way they could watch the comings and goings of the office a few doors down without evoking too much attention to themselves.

It had finally come to the point in the meeting that been worrying Max the most; time to talk about some safety issues within the group and start taking measures to correct them. At this point he was more than willing to listen to any suggestions his friends had to offer, but was determined to stand strong on certain decisions that he’d already made regardless of how unpopular they were with certain parties.

“Liz and I were talking earlier and we both agree that as things stand right now, we are all vulnerable to our enemies. We can no longer take the kinds of risks we have been taking. I know we didn’t see them as such before, but any time we travel by ourselves we are more at risk than if we travel with a companion. The most vulnerable on a regular basis are Liz, Maria, Alex, and Michael.”

“Me? Don’t you mean Kyle?” Protested Michael, not seeing the logic behind Max’s thinking.

“I’m not saying that Kyle isn’t vulnerable as well; we all are if you think about it. That’s what this is all about. I’m simply saying Kyle is a less likely target than you are because of several things. Like his dad knowing what’s going on and that they both are trained when it comes to handling weapons. Something else in their favor, Valenti has a high profile position. If something were to happen to either or both of them it would draw more attention than I think our enemies are willing to deal with at this point. They aren’t going to want an investigation going on in the area while trying to get to the rest of us.”

Max could tell he still had a ways to go before convincing Michael that he was a likely candidate for some kind of attack and the only way to do that was to lay out all the facts. “Michael, I know your powers give you an advantage the others don’t have, but you are also the only one of us who lives on their own. Since you do, you make an easier target than someone who doesn’t, solely because your missing could go unnoticed for a long period of time.”

“Let me put it this way, if you didn’t want to draw attention to yourself who would you go after; someone with parents who would call all of their friends and then the Sheriff trying to locate their missing child? The son of the Sheriff, who undoubtedly would use every resources available to him to find his son, including contacting his friends and every law-enforcement agency out there? Or a guy who lives on his own and could be missing unnoticed until the next day?”

“What are you saying Maxwell? If your saying what I think you are, there is no way.” Michael protested, his voice raising and a few octaves.

“Michael I’m not real happy about this either, but we all have to make sacrifices right now. It’s the only way we can effectively watch each others backs.”

“If I were to do this, not saying that I will, where would I stay?”

“Lets make this clear, all cards on the table. I’m saying completely give up your apartment. That way you don’t have to worry so much about working enough hours to cover the rent. All you’ll have to worry about are your personal needs like the rest of us do.”

“Where would I be staying?” Michael inquired, still trying to decide if this is something he is willing to do.

“Here. There’s an extra bedroom upstairs you can use.” Max looks to Tess to make sure this is okay with her. She nods her head ‘yes.’ Turning back to Michael, Max adds, “I’m sure you can move what every you need in there and we’ll find a place for you to store the rest of your stuff.”

“With Nesado back and able to stay here with Tess I would think you would want Michael to stay with someone who doesn’t have powers of their own.” Alex said, thinking maybe he should offer his place while his parents are out of town, but then again that might not work if he, Maria, and Liz continue with their summer tradition.

While Alex was thinking about what he should do, Max continued to tell them about the things he and Liz had discussed earlier. “Liz and I worked out some plans that we think will workout for everyone, so just hear us out. Liz,” Max squeezed her hand as he prompted for her to explain this part of their plan.

“When Max and I were trying to figure out a way to keep everyone safe the biggest problem we came across was doing so at night. That’s when I thought about a summer tradition that Maria, Alex, and I have had for around the last seven years or so. The way it worked was we would have sleepovers, rotating them from house to house. We would never staying in the same house two nights in a row. If Maria and I were to propose to our parents that we keep the tradition going again this summer with Isabel and Tess; I think they would agree.”

Alex raised his eye brows suggestively and asked, “Oh I like this, sleeping in the same house as four lovely ladies? How did I get so lucky?”

“You didn’t. Sorry Alex, but if we’re going to have any chance of getting all of our parents to agree to this, namely Mr. and Mrs. Evans, we’ll have a better chance if it’s just girls we are talking about here. No guys.” Liz really hated excluding Alex this year, it had been their tradition for years now, but she didn’t see there being much of a choice. After discussing her idea with Max earlier, they’d both agreed his parents would be the ones most reluctant to give their consent.

“Aw, now come on.” He whined playfully.

“What? One girl isn’t enough for you?” Isabel joked back as she bumped her shoulder against his playfully. “You want a whole house full?”

Before Isabel and Alex could continue their playful banter, Michael who was wondering if Max and Liz had really worked out the details of their plan asked, “Wait a sec. If I’m supposed to give up my apartment in order to move in here and watch Tess’s back, how does that work if she’s off at Liz’s, Maria’s or your place with Isabel? That would leave me here alone with Nesado three out of four nights, and I don’t think he really needs me watching his back.”

Alex, after hearing that his summer plans with the girls was cancelled, decided to offer an invitation to Michael. “If you want you could bunk with me, Michael. My dad and mom are heading to Virginia for all of June. He’s going to be doing some project work, upgrading the various computers through out the smaller offices of the company he works for. My mom is going to go with him. She has some family down that way and thought it would be the ideal time to touch base with them.”

“Not that I’m complaining, but why aren’t you going with them?” Isabel inquired. This was the first time she was hearing about this, and it seemed a bit odd that his parents would leave him behind since there were no conflicts with school out for the summer.

“They wanted me to go, but I wanted to stay here with you, with all of you.” He corrected not wanting to be too obvious. “I reminded them that I’d already made plans for the summer and this way they wouldn’t have to worry about finding someone to house sit while they were gone.” Getting this back on track, Alex turned to Michael and asked, “What about it? You up to bunking at the Whitman’s?”

“Yeah, sure. . . .” Michael was saying before effectively being interrupted by Max. “Hold up. That works our great Alex, but if we can swing it, I was thinking us guys should do the same thing the girls are. Not to mention if we time it right, we should be able to spend one night out of every four with the girls.”

This revelation produced smiles all around the room. Nothing could sound sweeter than to hear they would be able to sleep along side the one person in this world they loved the most. That is other than the thoughts going through the various couples heads about what else they could be doing other than sleeping.

As Tess’s eyes moved to Nesado as she began to wondered where and what he would be doing during all of this.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Max and Isabel pulled into the driveway in front of their home with a plan to get their parents to allow them to spend the nights rotating between their home and that of their friends; Isabel with the girls and Max with the guys. Of course they had no intention of telling their parents that there would be nights they would all be sleeping at the Harding’s.

Even though this was something they really wanted, they knew there was still a possibility that their parents would say no. They’d planned for this as well and at least they would have each other for back up. On those nights when the others all met at Tess’s, Isabel would ask to join them for the night. She figured her parents couldn’t deny her the occasional sleepover during the course of the summer.

Max would also be included in this plan of theirs, but instead of asking to stay with Tess, he would simple ask to stay with Michael. To assist in this plan, it was agreed to keep Michael’s new place of residence a secret and to have a separate phone line installed in Michael’s room and to have his current number transferred. But again, this was only the second choice. The plan was still to do everything they could to convince their parents to go along with the rotation between houses.

“Mom? Are you home?” Isabel called out as she stepped though the front door. In order to get things started, she figured there was no time like the present.

“Isabel, Max, I’m in here.” Diane called from the family room where she’d been sitting and waiting for her children to return home. “Would you two please join me, I have something I would like to talk to the two of you about.”

Max and Isabel’s smiles vanished from their faces when they entered the room and spotted one of the orbs sitting on the coffee table. Beside the orb was another item, one that neither of them was too concerned with it until they stepped further into the room and spotted the Seer’s insignia in the center of it. Sharing a quick glance at each other they both knew the other had seen it as well. With their curiosity peaked, they turned all of their attention back to their mother.





Mary N
posted on 5-Sep-2001 10:49:38 AM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter Thirteen


Wanting to handle this as cautiously as possible and yet find out as much as he could about the second item, Max chose to play this situation down as much as possible. This way he stood a better chance of learning exactly what their mother knew without the risk of raising her suspicions about himself, Isabel, or their true origin. He reached for the orb hoping to reclaim it as nonchalantly as possible as he asked, “Mom, what’s going on? Why do you have this?”

Diane placed her own hand over the orb, effectively intercepting his hand before he could touch it. She watched her son with curiosity as he remained calm and very much in control of all his faculties. She found this to be very impressive; much like watching her husband in the courtroom. Her son’s reaction was the farthest from the kind of reaction she’d expected as it could possible get. It gave her a closer look at how well guarded he was with his emotions. This worried her. If Max was truly this guarded, how was she supposed to find out the true about the things she’d found?

“I was in your room earlier this evening Max, putting some fresh laundry on your bed. As I was entering your room I heard some beeping; the kind you might hear from a pager or an alarm clock. Instead of letting whatever it was beep until you got home, I felt it best if I tried to find the source and turn it off. After checking your clock and radio I realized it was coming from your closet. That didn’t make a lot of since, but I thought maybe you’d put some kind of electrical device away in there and had forgotten to turn it off. Instead of find a beeper or something along those lines I found that beautiful green thing lying on the table there, but only after I ended up accidentally knocking this elliptical object into the wall as I shifted my feet to reach the box it was in.”

“You’re saying you found that in my closet?” It seemed vaguely familiar to Max but he couldn’t place where he’d seen it before. If it was in his closet, why didn’t he remember ever seeing it before? Had he found it as a child, put it there, and forgotten about it or had someone else put it there for him to find at a later date?

“Yeah.” Diane answered as she wondered why Max was acting like he didn’t know it was even in his closet. Seeing the way Max was intently staring at it, she held it out for him to take from her hand so that he could get a better look at it.

***The moment Max’s hands touched the green medal he received several flashes.***
One of their next door neighbors, an older man, handing it to him the day of his twelfth birthday party. “Happy Birthday Max. I have something very special for you, but you can’t tell anyone about it, and you have to put it. You have to put it away somewhere where no one will ever see it.”

“What is it?”

“It’s magic. The kind of magic that comes from a place far, far away. It will let you know if your enemies are getting close to you and from which direction they are coming from. If it ever starts beeping, you will know they are getting close.”

“Can I show my sister or my friend Michael?”

“Not this time Max. They would ask too many questions; question about where you got it and you can’t tell them. You can’t tell anyone about me either. No one can know that I’m here, no one. Do you understand?” Max nodded his head yes and the man continued. “I want you to go inside and hide this somewhere no one will find it, someplace where no one will look for it. If anyone sees this Max, they will try and take it away from you. You can’t let that happen. It’s very, very important you don’t let anyone ever take it away from you.”
***
* The flashes continue*
He puts the warning device in an old shoe box and stuffs it in the far left corner of his closet for safe keeping and then heads out of his room to join his family.
***
Diane lifting the lid off the box and staring down at the object before reaching in and touching it. The beeping stopping and one of the gems remaining lit up.
***End of flashes***

From the look on Max’s face, Isabel was pretty sure he received some kind of flash. She looked over at their mother to see if she’d noticed the way his face had gone blank for a few seconds. Reassured that if she had she wasn’t going to mention it, Isabel turned back to Max hoping for some kind of sign to let her know what he’d seen and learned. Unfortunately whatever it was he wasn’t able to share it with her. Her only clue came from the first words she heard him mumbling to himself. “Mr. Sanders? Was that really Mr. Sanders or someone who just looked like him? What was it that he said? That it would beep when our enemies were near.” Realization dawned on Max causing him to look up from the warning device in his hands to his mother’s face. “Mom, do you remember what time it was when you first heard this thing beeping?”

“It was about an hour after I got home from work, why? What is it Max? And why do these things, including Isabel’s pendant, all have the same symbol? Does it have to do with your past, your birth parents, and what happened to the two of you out in the desert all those years ago?”

Max was so used to keeping their secret, he didn’t even have to think twice about what he was going to do. In fact he’d already been formulating a way to cover this up and keep his mom from finding out the truth about himself and Isabel as well as the others. “Of course not. It’s all part of a game Isabel and I have been playing with our friends. A role playing game Alex ordered over the internet, you know kind of like Dungeons and Dragons only it suits Roswell more. It’s based on the whole ‘aliens are among us’ idea with some of the aliens being good while others are bad.”

“So you’re trying to tell me these things; all of these things including Isabel’s pendant, are simple pieces of a game? How long have the two of you been playing this game?” Diane asks unconvinced. She hated to force his hand like this, but she didn’t see any other way to get him to open up and tell her the true about these secrets about himself that he guarded so closely.


“A year, right Is?” Max turned to Isabel wanting her to back up his story which she did without hesitation. “Right, for about a year. It’s kind of how we hooked up with Alex, Liz, and Maria in the first place. They discovered this “aliens are among us” game and we ended up working. . . uh, I mean playing it together.”

Diane reached forward for one of the family photo albums she laid on the floor under the coffee table and opened to the page she book marked earlier. “Then explain to me how you knew this same insignia when you were only six.” The picture she was pointing to was the same one Isabel had shown Max after they’d found the pendent at Atherton’s. It was of the two of them creating the same insignia in the sand at the beach. The room remained perfectly quiet for the longest time. The tension in the air was growing so thick it was stifling.

“Hello everyone.” Phillip said as he entered the house and sat his brief case down by the front door. Joining his family in the family room he continued with his greeting. “How was everyone’s day? Did anyone do anything interesting today.” If Phillip had only known what can of worms his question would reveal, he might have thought twice about asking it.

Chapter Fourteen

“Our children were just about to share a secret with me. Something about all of these items you see before you and what they have to do with their past.” Diane informed her husband in a way that also let her kids know she wanted the truth this time.

Isabel looked pleadingly at Max. She has wanted to tell her parents the truth about herself for so long and now it seemed like they didn’t have much choice. When Max just stood there not saying anything, not even looking at her, but down at the green object still in his hand. She called his name several times in order to get his attention. “Max? Max?”

His head shot up, his eyes full of tears threatening to spill over; the anguish on his face clearly showing how torn and scared he was at the moment. When Diane saw this her heart ached for her son. She couldn’t understand way he was so scared to tell her what these things were and what they had to do with his childhood. Not wanting to put him through this if it scared him as much as it seemed to, she was about to tell him to forget it. That she would wait until he was ready, however, Isabel started talking to him first. “Max, it’s time. Mom and Dad both need to know the truth. Things are getting dangerous now Max and they need to know so that they don’t get hurt.”

Phillip was very confused by everything he’d seen and heard this far. He wanted to know what his kids could be involved in that could be considered dangerous. They seemed like good kids, not the kind that would be involved in anything illegal. He’d even seen them talking very friendly with the Sheriff on occasion. Was that it? Were they helping Sheriff Valenti with something? He leaned forward and picked up the orb wondering what it could possibly have to do with the so called danger they were talking about.

Max clasped his hand around Isabel’s arm and pulled her to the side. “Isabel, I know you think that it’s right, but what good would it do to tell them? It’s only going to make them worry unnecessarily. It’s not like they can protect us. And what if they told someone or tried to stop us from doing what we have to do. I know how you feel about this. I have for a long time, but we have to think about the big picture here. Too many lives hang in the balance.”

“Like their lives Max? If we don’t tell them, our own parents, that their lives could be in danger and then something happens to them; something that could have been prevented if they knew to be on their guard, I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. I don’t think you could either.”

Max swallowed the growing lump in his throat as he looked over Isabel’s shoulder at their parents. He knew she was right, but it didn’t make it any easier. Isabel, knowing her brother as well as she did, took a moment to try and reassure him that everything was going to turn our all right. “It’s going to be okay Max, I know it. Look at all the people who already know the true. Did even one of our friends turn their backs on us or share our secret with anyone else. No little brother they didn’t. Now think about this. Our parents have known us and loved us a lot longer than some of them. They aren’t going to turn their backs on us. You know it in your heart if you would just listen.”

Phillip and Diane squeezed each other’s hands as they watched their children return to the room. From everything they’d witnessed and heard so far they both knew this was going to be big. It was Isabel who was taking the lead on this, which seemed rather odd since it always seemed to be Max who fell into the leadership role.

“Mom, Dad. I know this is going to be hard for you to believe. It’s sounds more like science fiction than reality, but it is our reality. So no matter what may go through your heads please believe me when I say it’s true, every single word of it. From our appearance right now I’m sure you can tell we’re kind of nervous, actually down right scared out of our wits. So if you could please not interrupt, I’ll prove every word of it to you.”

Isabel felt the butterflies in her stomach increasing ten fold and didn’t know if she was going to make it through the next few minutes. “First off, both Max and I want you to know how much we love you and how grateful we are that it was you how picked us up that night and took us into your home. We honestly don’t know where we would have ended up without you and the love you have so freely given us. We also want you to know that no matter what you think of us after you learn what we have to tell you, how we fill about you will never change.”

“Isa. . .” Diane began only to be cut off by Isabel’s pleading voice. “Please Mom, don’t say anything until I get this all out. I’m having a hard enough time as it is.” Diane silently agreed and urged her daughter to continue.

“A while back you asked me if I’d ever noticed anything different about Max.”

“Umm umm.” Her mother nodded her head letting Isabel know she remembered the incident.

“Well, I lied when I told you no. The truth is I have. But you see, it’s not just Max that’s different. So am I. We’re both different in ways that aren’t what you would call normal, because we aren’t completely . . ., ah, what I mean to say is that we weren’t conceived and born like normal kids, and I’m not talking about in vetro fertilization either.”

Max looked at Isabel with a puzzled expression. He could tell she was trying to explain to their parents about how they came to be rather than where they’d came from. In some ways it made since to start this way, but in her efforts, she was only confusing them further. At least that’s how Max read their expressions. Even though he was probably just as nervous as she was, he placed is hand on her shoulder, in a reassuring gesture, and with the tilt of his head and shift of his eyes, he asked if she wanted him to do this. The thankful smile on her face told him that she did.

Turning his gaze from Isabel back to their parents, Max swallowed past the lump in his throat and said, “What Isabel has been trying to tell you is we aren’t what you think we are. In truth, we are genetically engineered hybrids.” Max paused for a moment, giving his parents a chance to absorb this bit of information, but not long enough for them to start asking the questions that were formulating in their heads. “I know you must be wondering what I mean by hybrids as well as a thousand other things. We will do our best to answer your questions, but you have to understand, we don’t have all the answers either.”

“From what we have learned we now know that we were created by scientists who spliced together the DNA of two different species. One sample came from advanced human DNA and the other was from a very similar species called Antarian. The purpose of doing this was to give us special gifts or powers to help in our survival.” The crucial moment at hand, Max looked into his parents faces and said the words that would put an end to any confusion they may still have about what they were telling them. “Mom! Dad! We, Isabel and I, are alien human hybrids. We were sent to Earth from a planet called Antar for reasons we are only now discovering.”

Phillip couldn’t hold his laugher in anymore. He loves and trusts his son and daughter, but this story seemed too far fetched to be true, he was sure it had to be some kind of a joke. “Now come on kids. You don’t really expect us to buy any of this. . . .” Phillip’s eyes suddenly grew as big as saucers and his jaw went slack; dropping wide open as he watched Isabel change the color of her shirt from, red to white and them back again.

Diane was stunned as well. She always suspected that her children were special, but this surpassed even her wildest of dreams.

Isabel and Max waited as patiently as they could, but grew more uncomfortable with each passing second as they waited for their parents to get over the initial shock of what they’d just learned. The silence was broken only when Isabel’s pleading voice brought her parents attention to herself and Max. “Mom? Dad? Say something, anything.”

“Max! Isabel!” Phillip managed to choke out as he tried to think of something coherent to say. “I’m sorry. It’s just a bit of a shock . . . learning ones kids, my kids, the kids I love have such . . . such an incredible secret”, was all Phillip would find to say. He couldn’t believe that in the last eleven years he’d never once suspected that there was anything unusual about his children. How had he missed it? More important, why hadn’t he listened to his wife when she tried to tell him?

“You did say love, right Daddy? I mean you do still love us, right?” Isabel asked in a small child like voice.

Shocked that Isabel could even consider this news would effect or change how he and Diane feel about them, Phillip immediately sought out the expressions on hers and Max’s faces. The fear he saw there astounded him. He couldn’t believe it. They truly believed that knowing this would change how much they loved them.

Diane was more prepared for this than her husband. She thought back to how scared Max had been when she tried to get him to talk to her about his gifts after the kitchen fire incident last spring. Hearing that same kind of fear in Isabel’s voice, she knew what she had to do. Raising to her feet, she quickly moved to her children’s sides and wrapped an arm around each of them and pulled them into a tight embrace.

“Of course we still love you sweetheart, both of you. What you’ve told us doesn’t change that on bit. You’re still the two same wonderful children who touched our hearts the very first time we saw you.”

Phillip followed his wife’s lead and wrapped his arms around his family. He still had many questions, but reassuring his children of his unconditional love for them was and would always be his first and foremost priority.

“Isabel. Max. Did you really think our love; a parents love for their children could be so flighty? I assure you it’s not. We love you both. We have ever since the night we found you frightened and lost in the desert. It doesn’t matter to us where you came from or even how you came to be. What does matter is who you are, and how you treat others. It’s what is on the inside that counts.”

Releasing his hold on his family, Phillip asked the one question that plagued his thoughts. “Where did you get the crazy idea we would feel any differently about you because of all of this. Did someone tell you we would stop loving you or that we would hurt you in some way if we knew the truth about where you came from? Did you think we would withdraw our love if we knew who you really were or who it was that left you in the desert?”

“We weren’t left out in the desert like you may think. When we were brought to Earth, we weren’t fully developed yet; or so we think, because we were still in incubation pods.”

“The pods were full of fluid, much like a mother’s womb.” Isabel added wanting to draw as accurate picture for her parents as possible.

Max continued, hoping for the same thing. “For reasons we can only speculate on, those who sent us wanted to increase our chance of survival. As a result, we didn’t emerge from the pods until we’d developed physically to the stature of a six years old. We’d only been out of our pods for about a day when you found us.”

Reconfirming what she’d just heard, Diane asked, “You’re saying, that for all purposes, other than your physical appearance, you were both newborns?”

“This could get really complicated.” Max really didn’t want to go into this in great detail. Things like the fact they’d lived before but didn’t really remember any of it, wasn’t something he felt they needed to hear right now. Not feeling entirely sure how to approach this, he started out slowly. “Umm, Yes. But we did know things that a newborn wouldn’t have known, but a six-year-old would have. Things like how to walk, run, and eat. This goes along with dad’s earlier question. We knew how to do these things instinctively. In the same way, we knew not to reveal our secrets to anyone. No one showed us or told us any of it, we just knew.”

Wanting to keep the lines of communication flowing, but also wanting to move this conversation into somewhere more comfortable, Diane makes a suggestion, “Why don’t we take this conversation into the dining room and talk more over dinner?”

“Sounds good, I’m starving.” Phillip replied with the most lighthearted tone he could muster.

Isabel was the happiest she could ever remember being. Not only did she have someone like Alex to love her, but her parents had learned the truth about who she was and still accepted and loved her. It had all worked out better than anything she’d ever dreamed. She’d followed her mother into the kitchen and started helping set the table; completely oblivious to the fact her brother and father hadn’t followed.

Unaware that his father was watching him, Max stood fast with his feet still firmly planted beside the coffee table. He stared down at the orb and photo album thinking about how these pieces of evidence had lead to the revealing of his and Isabel secret. He was relieved that he didn’t have to lie to them about himself anymore, but he still wondered how much was to much for them to know. How would they react to learning their enemies were right here in Roswell, heck, that they even had enemies? One thing was for sure; this day had gone nothing like what he’d expected it to when he got up this morning.

Max bent over and removed the picture from the album before closing it. He felt it had already caused them enough trouble. While he was feeling totally comfortable with his the fact that his parents finally knew, the last thing he wanted to risk was someone else stumbling across it. He then picked up the orb, holding it in one hand while he still clung to the warning device in the other, and turned to follow his family into the dining room.

“Dad? I didn’t know you were still there.”

“I know. It looked like you were heavy in thought and I didn’t want to disturb you. Can I ask what you were thinking about and what those things are?”

“I was just thinking about how this day has been one I don’t think I will ever forget. A lot has happened today. As to these, I think mom and Isabel would like to know that too.”

“Isabel doesn’t know?” This surprised Phillip. He was sure that Isabel and Max shared just about everything with each other. And since these things were a link to the both of them, it just made since that she would already know.

“She knows about the Seers orb, but this, this was given to me four years ago, and I’d forgotten all about it. I was told to put it somewhere safe; somewhere where it wouldn’t be found. It looks like I hid it too well. I forgot it was even there.”

Phillip motioned for Max to head into the dining room ahead of him as he asked, “How did you get those things?”

*~*~*~*~*
Liz was pacing in the front room at the Harding’s while Michael, Maria, Kyle, Tess, Alex, and Ed Harding, I.e. Nesado gathered around the table eating the pizzas they’d ordered. She was growing more and more anxious as time passed. Max and Isabel left nearly two hours prior and she was sure she’d have heard something from him even if it was that their parents were still thinking about whether or not to let them participate in the nightly sleep overs.

She berated herself for getting all worked up, telling herself that two hours wasn’t really all that long; that maybe he just hadn’t had a chance to call yet. If only she could believe it, but there was this nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach telling her differently. No! There was something going on. She didn’t know how she knew it, she just did.

She stopped her pacing and couldn’t keep a timid sympathetic smile from appearing on her lips at the sight of Alex trying to balance two plates of pizza in one hand and two cups in the other. “Alex?”

“Hey there! Do you think you could lighten my load a bit before I drop one of these?”

“Sure, let me take these.” Liz removed the cups from his hand and sat them down on the coffee table.

“Thanks. Here! I got you your favorite kind of pizza before those pigs over there had a chance to devour it all.” Alex told her and proceeded to thy to get her to sit down, relax, and eat something.

“Thank you Alex, but I’m really not. . . .”

“Aw, aw, aw. Don’t you dare tell me that you aren’t hungry; not after I risked getting my arm snatched from my body as I fought off those barracudas to get you this food.” This brought another light smile to her lips. She loved the way Alex could always make her smile and forget her troubles. “Okay, you win. I’ll eat something.”

“Good, because I didn’t know what I was going to try next.”
*****Chapter Fifteen

With dinner well on it’s way, Phillip turned his attention to Max. “Max. You said you’d explain how these things came into your possession and what they’re for. Why don’t you start with the octagon shaped one first since Isabel is just as much in the dark about that one as your mother and I are”, Phillip suggested. He was fascinated by the green metallic object and it’s viable beauty; the way the pale blue-white stones seemed to glisten against the dark green setting. He was anxious to learn what purpose the creation served other than something to look at for its beauty.

“I don’t know all that much about it.” Max answered honestly. “Just what Mr. Sanders told me when he gave it to me on my twelfth birthday. He said that I needed to hide it because if anyone learned about it they would try and take it away from me. I think we can all see why, but I don’t still don’t understand why he told me not to show it anyone. Not even to Isabel or. . . or anyone else. He said, it would warn me when our enemies were close by and what direction they were coming from.”

“Mr. Sanders gave this to you? Mr. Sanders, as in the guy next door? How could he have known this was connected to the two of you?” Diane questioned wanting to deal with the easiest of the questions plaguing her mind at the moment.

“I can’t be positive without talking to Mr. Sanders, but I don’t think it was really him.”

Curious about Max’s theory, Isabel asked, “Then you do you think it was Max? It couldn’t have been Nesado; he didn’t know where we were five, almost six years ago.”

“I know that Is, but maybe one of the other protectors survived after all. No . . .” Max dismissed the idea. If one of the other protectors had survived he or she wouldn’t have left them to figure things out on their own. He more than likely would have started training them to use and develop their powers as Nesado had done with Tess.

“What about the Advocate of the Seer? The one that Nesado was telling us about earlier. It fits the way Nesado described him; always staying in the back ground, watching over us, but never drawing attention to himself.”

“Max, you’ve known Mr. Sanders for almost as long as you have lived with your father and me. I would think you would have known if it was him or not, especially if he was close enough to hand you something.”

“Not if he is another Macpa, a shape shifter like our protector.” Max stated as a mater of fact.

“When you say protector, are you saying that someone from your planet was sent with you in order to protect and watch over you? Is this person the one you call Nesado?” Phillip asked wanting to make sure he is understanding of what they’ve been saying is correct.

“There were four from our galaxy sent with us. Nesado, as we call him, and three others. Unfortunately, two died from injuries they sustained during the crash of our ship in ‘1947'. The two others were captured by the government and held at the Eagle Rock Military Base not far from here. One of them died at the hands of their captors; the other managed to escape. Nesado is the one who escaped.”

“ ‘1947'? Your telling us that the two of you were on the UFO that crashed in ‘1947'? The same crash that our government has denied happened ever since? How is that possible? It was over fifty years ago and the two of you aren’t even eighteen years old yet.”

Max wasn’t surprised to hear these questions. They were similar to the questions Liz had asked him shortly after she’d discovered their secret. He’s just glad he can answer his mom and dad’s better than he’d been able to answer hers that day. “I know it sounds hard to believe, but we were on board. We weren’t fully developed at the time and were still inside incubation pods. Much like a fetus still developing inside it’s mother’s womb.”

“Our pods were very similar to that of a womb. They were made of a membrane shell which was filled with some kind of amniotic fluid.” Isabel clarifies trying to give there parents a better picture of the beginnings of their lives.

“If your protector has been around for fifty years, minus the time he was held captive, why wasn’t he there to protect you when you first came out of these pods you’ve been telling us about?” Phillip remembered Isabel saying something about Nesado not knowing were they have been until a year ago. He wonders how this guy could have let this happen. In many ways he is glad that he did because he and Diane had the pleasure of raising them, but on the other hand it angered him to know someone had been so careless as to leave them when he knew someone wanted to kill them. He also questioned this protector’s ability to protect them. After all he had to be at least somewhere in the range of seventy plus years old.

In an attempt to answer their father’s question the best way she could, Isabel told him what they knew of his movements. “We don’t know a lot about Nesado’s whereabouts since his escape from the government base. We do know he stayed on the Mesaliko Indian Reservation for a while. That’s where he received the name ‘Nesado’. It means ‘visitor’. After he left the reservation he moved around a lot because he was afraid that either our enemies or the FBI would find him and kill him. We know he was in Marathon, Texas in ‘1959' where he stayed with an author named Atherton, but from there we have no idea where he went or what he was doing until he came back for us. The thing was he was too late; we were already gone. As it turns out was a good thing.”

“And you know this because. . . . ?” Isabel looks from her father to Max for this one. She doesn’t know if they should tell them about Michael and Tess or not.

Max pauses for a moment, deciding what he should do. His parents were handling everything else they’ve told them thus far better than he thought they would. Hoping that if they tell their parents the truth that they will be more accepting of the plans they have made for keeping everyone safe this summer, he decided to tell them. “Because when we left the place we’d been safely hidden away in, we had to leave one of us behind. She hadn’t come out of her pod yet and we needed to find food. Nesado was there when she broke out and he raised her.

“There are three of you?” Diane questions in surprise.

“No. There are four of us.” Max corrected. “Isabel and myself you know about. The others are Michael Guerin and Tess Harding.”

Learning that Michael Guerin hasn’t only been their children’s longest standing friend, but also shares a link to their past as well as their future doesn’t really surprise either Diane or Phillip. For the longest time they have known these three would remain friends no matter what trials life threw their way. It has been even more obvious in the days that followed their success in winning Michael his emancipated minor status. However, until now, they hadn’t fully understood what kept these three young people with such diverse characteristics together or had kept their bonds to each other so strong.

The real surprise for the both of them was learning that Tess Harding, one of the newest additions to their circle of friends, was also linked to them through their unearthly origin. Adding to this was the fact that she really didn’t seem all that welcome in the group at the beginning, but seemed more like someone who was trying to force their way into a circle of friends that didn’t enjoy her presence. Putting two and two together, Phillip asked, “Tess Harding, that’s the name of the new girl you’ve both been hanging out with. Does that mean. . .does it mean her father isn’t really. . .isn’t really her father, but that. . .that he is. . .”

“He’s our protector, a shapeshifter.” Max finished for his dad seeing how he was having a difficult time getting his question out, something that was very unlike his father; the man who could easily sway any jury to believe things from his point of view with a select chose of words in the right order. With his dad’s initial question answered, Max proceeded to explain further about Nesado and Tess.

“Nesado did a good job as far as helping Tess discover what her gifts are and in training her to use them to their fullest. On the other hand, when it came to teaching her about friendships and relationships, he left her severely lacking. As Tess explained it, Nesado taught her that it was best to keep a tight restraint on her emotions, because emotions are supposedly a weakness which our enemies are more than willing to take advantage of. Having been moved around frequently over the last eleven years she didn’t have the opportunity to establish any real friendships either. The only thing she really had to look forward to was finding Isabel, Michael, and myself. Nesado constantly drilled it in to her head that we were the only real friends she would ever have or would ever need in this world. Of course she’d believed him since he was really the only constant in her life. Unfortunately, things between us weren’t quite as she’d expected them to be; instead they were what you would call strained.”

“As much as I’d like to blame Nesado for all the problems our group had accepting her in the beginning, I really can’t say it’s all his fault. We, and by that I mean Michael, Isabel, and I, have always been slow when it comes to accepting new people into our lives. Besides, Nesado truly did believe everything he was telling her. He was under the assumption the four of us where meant to pair off as couples. Being as he was never meant to play the part of Tess’s surrogate parent, let alone ours, he was never told anything to the contrary. His sole purpose here was to protect us from our enemies while training us to protect ourselves and to prepare us to return home and fight for a better life for our people. The others from our galaxy, the ones who died as a result of the crash, they were the ones who were supposed to fulfill the position as our surrogates until the time came when we were ready to return to our home planet. As it turns out, we have been very fortunate. Unlike Tess, the choices about our futures have been in our own hands. The results has been much happier lives for us than the ones we would have had laid out for us if Nesado had raised us too. One more thing, I’m certain we would never have had the opportunity to meet let alone get to know those who were meant to be our true soulmates.”

During Max’s short interpretation of Tess’s life, Diane slipped into her own thoughts; making connections between everything she’d heard thus far this evening and her children’s behavior throughout their lives. “So much makes sense to me now. The special bond the two of you have always shared with each other and with Michael. The way the three of you never really let you guard down, never letting anyone get too close. You’ve always been afraid of what would happen to you if you did. What others would think of you if they ever found out that you were different.”

Diane is confident she is on the right path with this, but one thing still puzzled her, “What happened? I mean, what happened a year ago to make those walls you’d built around yourselves come down enough for you to let Liz, Alex, and Maria get as close as they have to the three of you. And now there’s the sheriff’s son who you have allowed into your circle of friends. Something had to have happened or changed to bring this about. Did they find out the truth about you somehow?”

“The sheriff’s son’s name is Kyle, and he and the others do in fact know the truth about us, as does the Sheriff.” Max answered with a relaxed smile. He couldn’t help thinking about all the times their human friends and counter parts had come through for them. They’d done everything from helping them through the rough times to asking questions they hadn’t thought to ask themselves. As seems to be a common occurrence, he couldn’t help thinking about how much different all their lives would have been had it not been for Liz.

“Max, how did they find out? I assume you didn’t just tell them. I mean you didn’t tell us until we literally cornered you with facts you couldn’t deny. Did something similar happen with them as well?” The anguish Diane was feeling over learning her children had trusted acquaintances, mere friends, with their deepest secret and not them, their parents, was visibly showing in the expression on her face.

Max and Isabel both felt horrible knowing how their past choices were now hurting their parents. Unable to bear the anguish on her mother’s face a moment longer, Isabel moved out of her chair and across the short space which separated them. She pulled her mother into a tight embrace. With tears freely flowing from her eyes, Isabel confessed, “Mom, I’ve wanted to tell you the truth at least a thousand times over the years. It’s just we . . . we were scared. We couldn’t bear the thought of you and dad pulling away from us; rejecting us because of what we are. Just the thought of you hating us because you no longer saw us as your children but as some kind of monsters. . .”

Suddenly, Diane understood completely. It wasn’t lack of trust; it was fear of rejection that had dictated her children’s actions. With her new understanding of the reason why they had chosen not to confide in she and Phillip before now and with tears running down her own face, Diane returned her daughter’s embrace and poured out her heart to her children. “Shhhhh. . . . It’s okay, honey. I just wish I could have figured this out years ago. I could have saved you and your brother so much fear, pain, and anguish.” Diane pulled back ever so slightly, gently grasping hold of Isabel’s shoulders, and looking directly into her eyes making sure to convey the truthfulness of her following statement. “I want you to know it doesn’t matter to me in the slightest where you came from or how you came to be. All that matters is God blessed us when he brought you into our lives.”

Not wishing to exclude Max from what she was saying, Diane looked over Isabel’s shoulder to meet Max’s hesitant gaze. “With all the love and joy the two of you have brought into this home, how could we not continue to love you?”

“Your mom is right.” Phillip confirmed. “This house wouldn’t have been the same without you. You both have added so much to our lives it’s impossible for us to convey how much you mean to us. The best and only thing we can do is continue to try and show you. That way, you will never have any doubt just how much your mother and I truly love you.”

Chapter 15C

The emotions between the two parents and their two children ran high for quiet some time. They continued to exchange embraces as words of love, comfort, and assurances that nothing had really changed continued to flow freely amongst them. It wasn’t until after emotions settled down to a more tolerable level that Phillip reminded Max where they’d previously left off. “I believe somewhere in the mist of all this you were going to tell us how your friends found out the truth about where you came from.”

“It was Max, he was the one who changed things for all of us. With one selfless act, correction one very selfish act, he inadvertently revealed to Liz Parker that he was different. She in turn, being the scientific minded person that she is, kept asking questions; questions Max felt he had to tell her the truth about in order to keep her from sharing what she had already learned about him. Then practically all by herself, she made all the rest happen. Somehow Liz managed to create a bridge of trust between us and her friends, Maria first, later Alex, and most recently Kyle.”

Even as Isabel was saying this, Max was nodding his head. It was all true. If it hadn’t been for Liz and her gentle ways, they would never have become the group of friends that they are today and certainly their group wouldn’t have included Kyle. It had been Liz once again who had help their latest addition in the ‘I know an alien club’ accept them as easily as he had. She was definitely the best thing to happen to them all. Even Tess, he was sure, would have to agree with him. After all, it was Liz who also befriended Tess and helped her become a more accepted member of their tightly knit group.

“My curiosity is peeked. What selfish act did Max perform that made all of this happen?” Truly intrigued, Diane’s question flowed effortlessly from her mouth.

Max lowered his head to prevent anyone from seeing his flaming red face. He found it embarrassing to talk about that day and what he did. It wasn’t that he was embarrassed by what he’d done, but by the way everyone who had heard the story reacted. They all acted like he’d done this really brave and incredible thing, only to him, this was the farthest thing from the true. What he’d done, he did out of fear of losing the one person who made each day worth getting up for. Just the sight of her, even before they’d become more than casual acquaintances, made his heart pound faster in his chest. As far as he was concerned there was nothing incredible about what he did for Liz. He did what he had to do; it was as simple as that.

“Do you either of you remember hearing about the gun that went off in the Crashdown Café last September?”

“I remember the sheriff saying something about it. He said Max had been there that day and he wanted to know if he’d said anything about it. Why Isabel? What really happened that day?”

“It was September 18th, and it was the day our lives change forever.” Max answered; wanting to keep Isabel from getting to carried away telling their parents about the events of that day. “It all started with two men who were fighting over who knows what. One of them pulled a gun out to make his point, I suspect. To even his surprise, the gun went off and the bullet hit Liz a couple of inches below her ribs. The next thing I knew, I was hovering over Liz. She was lying on the ground and there was blood everywhere. All I knew was I couldn’t let her die. I placed my hand over the wound and got her to open her eyes so that I could connect with her and then I healed her.”

“Oh my gosh!” Diane gasped, “The sheriff never mentioned anything about anyone being shot.”
Since Max had said that the Sheriff also knew their secret, she assumed he must have found out that day.

“That’s because he didn’t know. He suspected that something happened, but he couldn’t prove it.”

“I don’t understand. You said the sheriff knew about you, Isabel, Michael, and Tess.”

“He didn’t learn the truth until later. He was still trying to figure it out when he’d asked you questions about the fire in our kitchen.”

“You put out that fire using your powers too, didn’t you? You saved my life that day using your gifts.” Max nodded his head in silence. He didn’t trust his voice at the moment. If not for his gifts his mother could have been seriously hurt that day.

“Max, you could have gotten hurt yourself. When you use your powers, do you ever think about the risks? You could have. . .” Not wanting to finish that thought, Diane changed directions. “What about with Liz? Someone could have seen you. All those years of hiding the truth about yourself, Isabel, and Michael could have been for nothing. Why didn’t you just wait for the ambulance to get there?”

“It was worth the risk and I’d do it again if I had to. She was dying; right before my eyes, Liz was dying. I couldn’t let that happen no matter what the risk was. It was Liz.” Max stated the last part as if by simply saying her name it explained everything.

Knowing that this wasn’t the case, Isabel picked up where he’d left off and began to elaborate. “What you don’t understand about your son, and what he isn’t conveying very well is: he loves Liz. He has been in love with her since the very first time he laid eyes on her our back in the third grade on our very first day of school. Somehow he has always known that she was meant to be his destiny.” Wanting to lighten the mood a little, Isabel said something she suspected Alex would have said at a time like this. “You didn’t really think kept going to the Crashdown solely for the burgers, fries, and cherry cokes, did you?”

Light chuckles could be heard around the table. “I suppose not.” Turning more serious once again, Phillip asked, “So what’s this about Liz Parker being your destiny, Max?”

“I say that because she’s the one I was sent here to Earth to find. She’s my soul mate, my other half. She’s the only one who can complete me.”

“Max. . .” His father began to question him, but Max didn’t stop. Instead, in an effort to emphasize what he was saying, he picked up the orb and head it out in his hand; displaying it for his parent to see. “It has been through Liz that we have found this. Without her, we would still be in the dark about who we are and why we are here. She’s my life, my future, my queen, and one day she will be the mother of my children.”

Max hadn’t meant to call her his queen, it had just slipped out, but he couldn’t deny that he liked the sound of it even if he didn’t like the idea of being called the King. Neither Phillip nor Diane thought Max calling Liz his queen was anything but a term of endearment.

Isabel on the other hand, temporarily stood there with a shocked expression on her face. Hearing her brother refer to Liz as his queen sent an unexpected shiver of joy up her spine. It made her wonder if on some level Max was beginning to accept his position as the King of Antar. She couldn’t explain why the thought of him accepting who he was pleased her so much. Instead of analyzing it further, she proceeded to point out to him what he’d done. “Max? Do you realize what you just called Liz? Do you realize this is the first time you have ever called her your queen? I hope this means you. . . . ?”

The smile on Isabel’s face was a little disconcerting for Max. She seemed so happy by his slip of the tongue. “Don’t even say it. It didn’t mean anything okay, so just let it go.”

Isabel’s smile never faltered, even if he couldn’t admit it yet, she knew one day he would do his duty and become their people’s king. Max always did the right thing; it was part of who he was. And knowing her brother, he would be good, kind leader. He would be a leader who cared about all the people who would look up to him for leadership and guidance. He could never be a man who would be corrupted by the power his position, especially not with Liz by his side to keep him grounded.

“Speaking of her majesty, weren’t you supposed to call Liz?” The look of realization on Max’s face was priceless as he practically fell out of his chair trying to rush out of the dining and to the phone in the family room.
~*~*~*~*~
Chapter Sixteen

Liz was pacing back and forth in the living room refusing to take her eyes off of the phone, knowing that if she did, one of her friends would come and swipe it from the stand it sat on. Heck they’d done everything short of that to keep her from calling Max for the last hour. She actually had tried to call him several times, but somehow she had never managed to dial that seventh and final number for some reason or another. In the beginning her friends always seemed to find some reason to call her away from the phone. Once she caught onto what they were doing and calling her away from the phone was no longer working, they’d resorted to literally taking it out of her hand. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t want her to talk to Max, but they knew that if she called and interrupted Max at the wrong time there would be less chance that the Evans’ would agree to the sleep-over plans.

Liz’s head was telling her that they were right; that she needed to be patient and wait for Max to call her. Unfortunately, her instincts were saying something entirely different. They were telling her that she needed to call him because something had gone wrong and Max needed to hear her voice as much as she needed to hear his. If only she could have convinced their friends that she was right. For the life of her she couldn’t understand why they didn’t believe her. If she didn’t know her friends as well as she did, she would have thought that they were intentionally making her miserable. It was almost like some kind of sick game called, ‘Lets see how long we can keep Liz from calling Max before she snaps’.

When at long last the phone rang, Liz snatched the receiver off the base and had it pressed to her ear before the first ring had even ended. “Max?”

“Yeah Liz, it’s me.” A grin of both relief and joy at hearing Max’s voice consumed her face making it obvious to Maria, Alex, Kyle, Tess, and Michael that it was indeed Max on the phone. They too were relieved. It hadn’t been easy keeping Liz from calling him. To say the least, it wasn’t something they ever wanted to be party too again. Now that their task had come to an end, they all silently agreed to leave Liz alone to enjoy her conversation with Max in private, and headed up the stairs to get ready for bed.

“I’m sorry I didn’t call earlier, but things have gotten kind of crazy around here.” Max apologized in earnest, knowing the velocity in which she’d picked up the phone and the anxious sound of her voice were very good indicators of how impatient she’d become waiting for his call. He felt horrible about making her wait so long. If the situation had been reversed and he’d been the one waiting to hear from her about something so important, he’d have gone crazy by now. Hearing the mix of hope and fear in her voice as she asked the question foremost on her mind proved that she’d nearly done the same.

“Are you calling so late because your parents said ‘no’ about the sleep-overs?”

“Actually, we haven’t asked them yet. When we got home, our mom was sitting in the family room waiting for us. She found one of the orbs, Liz. The one I had hidden in my room.”
“Oh my gosh Max! What did you tell her? She hasn’t figured out that the orb isn’t from around her has she?” Liz asked, the concern in her voice apparent.

“There’s more. She found something else in my closet as well. Something that apparently I’d put there and forgot all about. At least that’s what the flashes I saw showed me when I touched it. I’ll tell you more about it when I fill the others in. More importantly right now is that she knew I was lying when I tried to bluff my way out of telling her what they were and where they’d come from. I had to tell them, Liz. Both of my parents know the truth about us now.”

Liz paused for a moment, letting what Max just told her sink in. “How are they taking it? Do you think they are going to be okay with what you told them?”

“At first they didn’t believe us, but at this point they actually seem to be taking it reasonably well.”

“I’m so happy for you and Isabel. On a small level I can kind of sympathize with just how hard it has been for the two of you to keep this kind of secret from them for so long. It can’t have been easy, especially over the last year.”

“It hasn’t been easy for you either and I’m sorry about that, Liz. I know it’s hard on you to have to keep lying to your own parents. Maybe someday we’ll be able to tell them the truth as well.”

“Maybe.” Liz answered doubtfully, “but probably not in the near future.” She wasn’t going to hold her breath waiting for that day to come. She knows how hard it is for Max to trust others with his secret. She would never push him to do anything that would cause him any unnecessary pain or discomfort.

Feeling badly about bringing it up in the first place and spoiling his good mood, she decided to do whatever it took to turn his mood around once again. “Max, it doesn’t matter in the least. Just forget about it and let me enjoy your good news with you. Honestly, words can’t describe how happy I am for you and Isabel. This is going to make things so much easier for the both of you, for all of us really. Just think, now that your parents know the truth, you can explain to them why it’s so important for the eight of us to be together as much as possible. This could mean all the difference when it comes to their agreeing to the sleep-overs. From everything I know about your parents, they’re going to want to do whatever it takes to keep the two of you safe. What better way to do that than to let us all stay under the same roof whenever possible. This is good Max, really good. If it all works out, you and I could end up sleeping together under the same roof two out of every four nights.”

“Sleeping together, hmm? I like the way you brain works, Ms. Parker. Maybe we could work it out were we have some privacy, say in my room, in my bed?” Max suggestively wiggles his eyebrows even though he knows Liz can’t see him doing it. “Oh yeah, I’m liking the sound of this. It has some definite potential.”

“Max!” Liz is shocked he is suggesting they plan ‘sleeping together’; sleeping together under the same roof as his parents. The shock passed quickly and a smile played across her lips in remembrance of the time they’d actually done that, although in her mind there was a big difference between planning for it to happen and it actually happening due to the fact that they’d gotten carried away. “You are so bad, you know that, Max! And you might just as well get that thought out of your head. There is no way your parents would ever agree to let us sleep in your room together.”

“Who said anything about asking them? We could wait until they’ve head to bed and . . .”

Hearing the playful edge in his voice, she knows he is just teasing her. She wouldn’t put it past him to actually try and get away with his the little plan he was concocting, but still she was sure he was just teasing. Feeling just as playful, she interrupts him in mid sentence. “Stop right their Max Evans. If you are going to start making plans about sneaking around, maybe you should be thinking about heading over here for the night. That is unless you are all talk and no action.

“Ouch! That’s just mean. You don’t know how much I want to be with you right now, but I can’t. Not with everything that’s going on over here.”

“Ouch, huh? Remember; you’re the one that started this little game. And Max, I think I do know. It’s hard for me too. Knowing you’re so close and yet so far away. If only it was possible for you to be here with me now.” Liz replied as she sank to the floor and pulled her knees tightly up against her chest. “I know this is going to probably sound childish, but I can’t help it. I miss you so much when you’re not here. It’s like there’s this piece of me missing and I don’t. . ., It doesn’t. . . .,” She sighed heavily as she struggled for the right words to covey what she was feeling and thinking. “What I mean to say is, when we’re together I don’t only feel loved; I feel protected and at peace.”

“It’s not childish at all. I feel the same way you do.” They sat in a comfortable silence, until Max regrettably had to say goodbye; knowing it was time for him to return to the dining room and finish the conversation with his parents. “We still have a lot to discuss here, so I should probably hang up now.”

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

“Liz?”

“Yeah?”

“Before I go I need you to do something for me. If you don’t, I know I won’t be able sleep a wink all night.”

“Sure, what is it Max?”

“Promise me you’ll stay close to the others tonight and that no one will leave the house until I get there in the morning.”

“I can only promise for myself Max, but I’ll do my best to make sure the others don’t leave as well.” Not really wanting him to go just yet, Liz asks, “Max, one more thing. Do you want me to tell the others about what’s happened with your parents?”

“No. You better leave that for me to do when I get there. Michael may not take the news too well and I don’t want him turning his wrath lose on you.”

“Yeah, I see your point on that one. He isn’t going to be real happy is he?”

“Not in the least. I’m hoping he’ll get over it when he sees that my parents really are okay with all of this.” Knowing that he really had to go this time, Max says, “I’ll see you first thing in the morning, sweetness. Be safe. I love you.”

“I love you too Max. You be safe too and I’ll see you in the morning. Goodnight”

“Goodnight and pleasant dreams.” With their final good-byes said, they both hung-up. Liz went in search of Maria, Isabel, Tess, Michael, Kyle, and Alex. Max headed back to the dining room where his parents were undoubtedly still bombarding Isabel with questions about . . . , he wondered exactly what kinds of questions were they asking.
~*~*~*~
Chapter 17

Isabel would have laughed as both parents turned to her expectantly and asked two versions of the same question at the same time. That is, she would have if she hadn’t felt like she’d just been cornered between the perpetual rock and a hard place.

Phillips approach was direct and very blunt, “Exactly, how close are Max and Liz these days?”
Diane’s question was a bit more subtle. “Would you say that Max and Liz have been getting even closer these days?”

There was no doubt in her mind; if she said too much, if she gave too much information about Max and Liz’s relationship, it would come back to bite her in the..., you get the point. After all, who worse to have as an enemy than your own brother who just happens to know way too much about your personal life? Determined not to give Max any reason to use what he knows against her, she decides to take the safest route with their parent’s questions and leave all the embarrassing revelations to Max.

“I can tell you they are truly in love. I’m not talking about some kind of puppy love or infatuation here. I’m talking completely and totally in love with each other. They have been for some time now. Be assured, it’s the kind of love that will last throughout the ages. The kind every person dreams of finding and hopes their children will find. Anything you want to know beyond that, you’re going to have to ask Max.”

Both adults are surprised at Isabel’s conviction on the matter of how strong Max and Liz’s love for each other is, as well as their daughter’s firm declaration that they would have to ask Max directly if they wanted to know anything further about his relationship with his girlfriend.

Impatient for answers to the overly abundant questions going through her head, Diane just couldn’t let it go. And yet, the conviction she’d heard in Isabel’s voice told her that her daughter wasn’t going to be forced into answering those questions. She decided to try a gentle, honest, and reassuring approach. “I’m glad to hear that their love is so strong, honey. We want Max to be happy and if that means a future with Liz, we’re willing to support their relationship. But before we can do that, we need to know more about where their relationship is heading. You know your brother better than anyone, and you know how he feels talking about anything personal. ‘This’ is of a personal nature; that’s why we’re asking you. Honey, you know we wouldn’t be asking if we didn’t care.”

“Please honey, we have so many questions. The one that keeps coming to my mind is, “What is so special about their relationship that it seem to be an instrument or key to so many of the things you two have told us about tonight. It’s obvious to the both your father and myself that Max and Liz’s relationship has played a very big role in everything. It is because of their shared visions you were able to find two of the orbs? That is what Max said, right?”

Isabel had to give her mother credit; she was good. Isabel was even feeling a bit guilty for refusing to tell her parents what they wanted to know. And yet, in the back of her mind she was hearing this constant voice telling her that if she told them what they wanted to know, she’d regret it. “Mom, you can’t ask this of me. You don’t know what Max would do if he found out that I told you things that he wouldn’t feel comfortable with you knowing.”

A picture of Max sitting on a throne shaking his head at her in disappointment popped into her head, and with it came the ideal way to distract her parents from Max’s relationship with Liz. Not wanting it to seem like she was stalling, she quickly added, “He’s not just my brother. He’s my leader, my king. You’re asking me to betray his confidence.”

Isabel knew her plan to divert the topic of conversation worked when she heard her father ask, “Your leader? Your king?”

This is the first time Phillip had heard anything about Max being a king or of royal heritage, let alone their daughters’ leader. He wasn’t sure if Isabel was using the term metaphorically or if his kids were even more important to their home planet than they had let on.

“Did I say that? Oops, I’m sorry.” Isabel felt relieved that she’d successfully changed the subject for the time being. Now it was just a matter of keeping them distracted until Max came back into the room and dealt with this himself. “I shouldn’t have referred to him as my king. He really doesn’t like it. So much so, in fact, that he’s been fighting against the idea every since he found out that he is the only rightful heir to the throne of Antar. As far as he’s concerned, he’s just like the rest of us; other than being the leader of our four pair; group of eight. You would think his taking on the responsibility for our little group would be enough, at least here on Earth. Unfortunately, even here there are those who refuse to see him as anything less than their king whether he calls himself such or not.”

“You mean others like Nesado, the Seer’s advocate, and the Seer? What about you and the others? How do you see Max? You say calling him ‘king’ was a slip of the tongue, but do you see him as your king?” Phillip asked her pointedly. It hadn’t gone unnoticed; the way she’d changed the subject, but Phillip found this topic interesting as well. He felt if Isabel wasn’t willing to answer their other questions yet, maybe if he kept her talking she would slip. Besides, you’d be surprised what a person can learn from someone by the questions they don’t answer, especially for someone who is trained to watch for that kind of thing.

“Nesado is one of them, yes. It seems like every chance he gets, he’s reminding Max, as well as the rest of us, that Max is the king and that what he says is supposed to be accepted as law or something. He doesn’t understand that we work as a group. We’re a democracy, and not a dictatorship. Sure, Max usually makes the final decision if we don’t agree on something, but he always tries to keep our opinions in mind when he does so.”

Isabel knew she was getting a little off track here but that was the point, wasn’t it? She was trying to stall for time. Keeping with her strategy, she pulled up the next person who could fit in to this category.

“I don’t think we really have to question whether or not the Seer is loyal or how she sees Max. I mean, she is the one who chose the donors of our Alien DNA and essences. I don’t think she would have picked Max, a king or future king, as our leader if she didn’t think he was capable. She had to have known it was the only way to insure there would be a rightful heir to the throne. I think that says it all. She’s got to be loyal, unless of course everything we’ve heard has been one big lie and this Seer is just trying to take credit for our being here.”

“Isabel!” Phillip interrupted her because he really didn’t want to listen to theories that could neither be confirmed nor denied at this point in time. “Would you get on with it please?”

“Oh yeah, sorry about that.” She smiled sweetly even though she was cursing on the inside. She could have continued to theorize about the Seer until the cows came home or Max returned; whichever came first. Maybe she could stall a little longer with the next name on her list.

“Of course we can’t forget the Seer’s Advocate. We haven’t actually seen or heard from him, at least not that we know of. However, since we are pretty sure the Seer is on our side, and she’s the one who assigned which one of her advocates was to be sent in her behalf, I think it’s safe to say he’s on our side as well. Think about it! If you had the gift of foresight, would you send someone who wasn’t completely loyal to you and to those he was being sent to watch over? Proving my point, Nesado said he met the Seer’s Advocate under circumstances that proved he wanted to protect us. It only makes sense doesn’t it, especially if this advocate can affect whether or not Max and Liz get the flashes that lead us to the orbs.”

As soon as the words left her mouth, Isabel knew she’d made a horrific mistake. She’d brought their conversation full circle and right back to the subject she’d been trying to avoid. Hoping to remedy the situation before her parents had a chance to question her about Max and Liz’s relationship again, she dove in the last part of her father’s question.

“Then there are our friends. It’s hard to say how each person sees Max. I think the idea of him being our king is still new and strange to Michael and I, but it’s starting to grow on us. I think, in a way, we have always seen him as the leader. He was always laying out rules for us to follow. Stuff like when to use and not to use our powers or not telling anyone about our being different. And he was also always the one to help us get out of any trouble we got ourselves into, especially Michael.”

“Tess? I think was, she has always thought of Max as her king because of the way she was raised. The thing was, she also believed that she was meant to be his queen. We know now that’s not true, and in fact, thanks to some flashes Liz and Max got, we know Tess is actually Max’s real sister. By birth that is.”

Isabel was rambling everything off so quickly, neither of her parents had been able to get a word in edge wise. Isabel was confident that if Maria could see her now, she’d be proud of her performance. That was until she had to pause to take a breath and her mother seized the opportunity to ask, “How do you feel about Tess being Max’s sister? I mean we always thought you and Max were brother and sister. And once again, how is it possible for Liz and Max to be getting these shared visions? ”

“I’m okay with it. Even if our alien side isn’t related, we feel like our human side is. We still see each other as brother and sister. That will never change. More importantly, all eight of us see each other as extended family members. It doesn’t matter if we were raised together or not. It has a lot to do with what we’ve been through together. It’s made us really strong. We’ve had to really rely on each other when things got tough or just plain crazy.”

“Go back to the others; to Kyle, Alex, Maria, and Liz. You’ve told us how you, Tess, and Michael see Max, but what about them?”

“Liz is easy. She loves him and would do just about anything he asked her to. Don’t get me wrong though; she is a fighter and she’ll tell him if she thinks he’s wrong about something. Everyone in our groups has come to see them as soul mates; two people destined to be together regardless of what life throws at them. Maria and Alex, I’d have to say they see him as the leader of our little group too. Even though we do pretty much everything on a diplomatic basis, whenever that’s not possible or we have a stalemate, it’s Max who decides what’s going to happen and how things are to be done. Not counting the two of you, Kyle is the newest member of the ‘I know an alien club.’ He’s still making adjustments and having a little problem with Max telling him what to do. It’s gotten better though, thanks to Liz’s influence and the fact that Max healed him and saved his life.”

“Isabel, you’ve been doing a masterful job avoiding any questions we’ve asked about Max and Liz’s relationship. Very well done I might add, but all the same, we’re still his parents and we’d like to know how seriously they are involved. If I were to guess from the way you have avoided answering our questions about the flashes as well as about their relationship, I’m inclined to believe they are one in the same. I’d also have to assume things between them have progressed into a physical relationship and it’s that physical relationship or physical contact that generates these flashes they see and share. Am I right? Are Max and Liz involved in an intimate relationship?”

Talk about being cornered. Isabel sat there staring at her father, mentally begging for Max to walk through that door so she wouldn’t have to answer. When he didn’t, she knew she didn’t have a choice. She would either have to say something or by omission she would be confirming his suspicions for him. Remaining silent would almost be as bad as if she’d told him out right that Max and Liz were having sex.

“Physical contact is part of it, yes. The flashes first started just after they admitted to themselves how much they really felt about each other. They’d gone out on a few dates, and then Max called things off between them because he was scared that by letting her into his life he was risking her safety. It turned out that staying away from her, and she from him, was much harder than either of them thought it would be. They finally succumbed to the inevitable. During their first kiss after getting back together they both saw flashes, only they saw different things. Liz was seeing things that lead us to the first orb, and Max saw things from inside Liz’s head. Come to think of it, he never would tell us what he saw. Through that episode and another that followed, we came to think that the flashes had something to do with the connection Max made to Liz when he’d healed her and afterwards when he connected to her, trying to show her that he was still the same Max she’d known since third grade. When they have physical contact, like kissing, their minds open to each other. The more open their minds are in combination with their heightened physical senses the more information they get.”

Phillip was already pretty sure there was more than kissing going on, but he isn’t sure how much more. “You talk about heightened senses. . . explain!”

Isabel cursed under her breath as she turns to check for Max once more knowing there is no way she can stall this conversation any longer, if it even mattered at this point. She’d practically already told them what they wanted to know. The only thing they lacked was her final confirmation. Regardless, she is determined they aren’t going to hear it from her.

“I can’t say exactly what they do or don’t do. Max and Liz aren’t ones to welcome an audience or talk about what they do when they’re alone.” Okay, it was a lie of sorts. Max and Liz had told their whole group the bare basics of what lead to the flashes, but it wasn’t a lie she felt she would have to pay for in the fiery pits of hell.

Diane and Phillip shared a knowing look.. It was obvious to both parents that Isabel was holding back. “Is there anymore, Isabel?” Diane gently prompted her to continue.

Before Isabel had a chance to think of an acceptable response, she was saved. Max entered the room with a smile on his face. Wanting to wipe that smile away because of the torture she’d just endured in his absence, Isabel smiled at her mom, and said. “Why don’t you ask Max yourself?”

Max had taken his seat between Isabel and his mother asking, “Ask me what?”

Leaning over slightly in his direction, Isabel answered only loud enough for him to hear. “I’m glad you’re back little brother. It’s your turn to answer their questions.” She paused for a brief moment and then added, “Good luck, Max. You’re going to needed it. They’re hungry for information, and the main course so far has been your relationship with Liz.” Not wanting to miss out on a minute of what was to come, Isabel sat back in her chair and smiled smugly and waited.

Max’s eyes widened as his smile slipped from his face. *Shoot! Shoot me now and get this over with! I can only imagine what Isabel has been telling them?*
~*~*~*~
Chapter Eighteen18

Thinking quickly, Max forced a yawn and said, “Actually, can’t this wait until tomorrow. It’s been a really long day and we have to be up early in the morning. Liz and the others are expecting us at Tess’s first thing in the morning to talk about the latest developments.”

“Max. We want to know. . .”

Thanks to Isabel’s warning, Max already had a good idea what they wanted to know. In the best interest of self preservation, he interrupted his father. “I’m sure you still have lots of questions, but please, can’t they wait until tomorrow? We’ve already spent the entire night answering questions and to be honest with you, my head is swimming with questions of my own. If we all meet with Nesado in the morning, I’m sure he can answer both of our questions at the same time.”

“But Max. . .”

“Please mom. I’m really tired.” Max yawned again to stress his point.

Diane suspected Max’s well timed yawn was nothing but a ruse to get out of answering anymore of their questions tonight. She’d noticed the way Isabel had leaned over and whispered something loud enough for only him to hear. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, she examined his appearance more closely. Doing so, she noticed there were telltale signs confirming he truly was tired. He had dark circles under his eyes and he was rubbing the back of his neck the same way he’s done since his was a small child when he was fighting against sleep.

Liking the idea of hearing what their so called protector had to say about everything that was going on, and presuming it couldn’t hurt to wait one more day to learn anything beyond what they’d already assumed to be true, Diane decided to take pity on Max and Isabel both. Wanting to make sure Phillip was in agreement before saying anything, Diane turned to Phillip and signaled him that she was fine with wait until morning.

Returning his wife’s gaze, Phillip’s own thought not only mirroring hers, but he’d taken them one step further. The extra time they would have, if they waited until morning, would give them some extra time to contemplate and discuss everything they’d already learned. It would also give them time to decide on what questions they should ask.

“All right Max. We’ll let you off the hook until tomorrow, but understand this, come tomorrow we want to know everything, and I do mean everything that has been going on. No more secrets! It’s time for us to know it all.”

The smug smile which had been on Isabel’s face vanished when her father agreed to call it a night. At first she couldn’t believe he was going let Max off the hook so easily after drilling her for information for the last half-hour or so; but when she’d heard how this was going to be only a short reprieve and that he wanted to know everything come the morning, the smug look reappeared once again.

Isabel suspected Max was going to be kicking himself in the morning when the conversation resumed with a larger audience, an audience that would be including one person in particular: Liz. Speculating on how much worse it was going to be for Max than it had been on her did make it seem almost worth it, but then when she thought about Liz having to endure her parent’s interrogation her happy thoughts vanished.

Isabel and Max were preparing to clear their dinner dishes only to be stopped by the sound of the father’s strong and caring voice, “Since you’re so tired, you two head on up to bed. I’m sure your mother and I can handle the clean up tonight.”

Silently agreeing with her husband, Diane stood up from her seat, gave each of her children a goodnight hug, a kiss on the check, and bid them goodnight before she set to work gathering some of the dinner dishes from the table.

Phillip followed suit and bid Max and Isabel goodnight as well. He watched his children as they disappeared down the hall to their rooms and then picked up their plates and carried them to the kitchen. Worry consumed him when he found Diane bracing herself against the counter with tears streaming down her face. He quickly put the plates down, went to her side, and gathered her in his arms. “Diane? What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

Needing the comfort her husband was offering; Diane turned into her husband’s embrace burying her face into his shoulder. In between sobs and sniffles, she asked, “What . . . what kind. . . what kind of parents are we, Phillip? We didn’t . . .we didn’t even notice what’s been going on. . . going on under our own roof? With our own. . .our own kids?” She pulled back enough to look into his eyes, and wiped away the wet tear tracks with the back of her hand. “I knew something was special about Max. You remember the kitchen fire we had earlier in the year? Somehow he put it out. I tried to ask him about it then, but he just wouldn’t talk about it. Maybe I should have insisted more. Then we would have been able to be there for him.”
~*~*~*~
Max wasn’t lying when he’d said he was tired; if anything he was understating the fact. Not only was feeling he physically exhausted, but he was emotionally exhausted as well. However, he purposely neglected to mention the fact that even as tired as he was, he didn’t think he would be able to sleep a wink.

Ever since Max heard Liz’s voice on the other end of the phone, he’d been unable to concentrate on anything besides her for any real length of time. Surprisingly, and yet really not so surprising, his mind and body were working overtime against him attacking his ever weakening self-control. His need to be with her was increasing at a rapid pace. The only thing keeping him from jumping out his window and going to her was his concern for his sister.

He doubted their parents would agree to let them leave the house tonight, even if it was to go join the others at Tess’s. He thought briefly about sneaking out with Isabel, but quickly decided against it. If their parents did discover his and Isabel absence, they would undoubtedly be worried. Causing them additional stress over what they were already experiencing seemed too cruel so he focused on dealing with his current situation in other ways.

For a brief moment, he managed to distract himself by mentally replaying the unexpected discoveries and revelations that had filled the day; everything he’d learned from Nesado and what he’d told his parents about himself and the others. The distraction was short lived however, as his thoughts returned to Liz once more, this time in the form of a subject which was most pressing on his mind; what Isabel did and or didn’t tell their parents about his relationship with Liz.

Max couldn’t help being furious with Isabel. He’d tried to get her to tell him what she’d told them but she’d refused. She simply said, “There is no way I’m telling you. This is your just punishment for making me deal with our parents ‘alone’ while you lingered on the phone with Liz.”

Laying back on his bed with his hands clasped behind his head a soft smile appeared on Max’s lips. He had an overwhelming desire to thank all the stars in the heavens that he’d been wrong about how his parents would react to learning the truth about himself and Isabel, as well as Michael and Tess. There was no denying that most people would have acted a lot differently than the way his parents responded upon hearing, “Not only are there other intelligent life forms out there in the vast spaces of the cosmos, but they have visited Earth.” Then add in, “Your own children can be counted amongst them,” and one would anticipate something other than the outpouring of unconditional love and understanding that had flowed so freely from his mom and dad.

For so many years, Max saw his differences as a curse; a curse that prevented him from having any kind of life one would call normal. The day he saved Liz’s life was the first time he was actually grateful for those differences. He knew if not for his gifts he would have lost her forever; never having known the deep love they now share. It wasn’t until after Liz learned his secret and accepted him despite those differences that he allowed himself to hope for a chance at a real future. Having now revealed his secret to his parents, he has opened himself up to experience another kind of love; the unconditional love and acceptance shown by his parents. Over the years they’d shown how much they loved him and Isabel in so many ways, but he’d never allowed himself to believe it could be real. He had never allowed himself to trust in their love since he was sure it was based on what they believed he was and not what he really was. He believed their love was based on the lies they’d allowed them to believe.

Even though many negative repercussions had followed his healing Liz, he never once regretted his decision. Having been reassured of his parent’s love and acceptance even after they’d learned their life’s secret, he doubted that he would ever regret having told them, no matter what difficulties came their way as a result of doing so. At the moment he couldn’t see any negative repercussions, only positive ones. No longer would he have come up with a cover story for his and Isabel’s activities. Instead they would be able to tell them the truth and hopefully be able to rely on them to help cover for the others, as the Sheriff had done after the whole situation with Pierce and the FBI..


He continued to reflect on the events of the day and on the other conversation he’d shared with the sole purpose of keeping his mind off of Liz and his need to feel her tucked safely in his arms. It hadn’t been hard. He’d heard and learned so many things in the past twelve hours that his mind easily filled with questions; questions he planned to get the answers to from Nesado come morning.

In passing, he wondered if his parents were doing the same thing. Were they unable to sleep because their minds were racing with questions they would be asking him? It seemed highly possible they, like himself, had learned a vast amount of information in a short time. This line of thinking helped distracts him temporarily from his problem, but it soon backfired. The more he thought about what kinds of questions they would ask, the more his anxiety level spiked and soon he was dreading the thought of morning ever coming.

He was getting so worked up in fact, he knew he had to do something to calm himself before he began to climb the walls. Knowing of only one sure fire way to accomplish this task, he gave into his life time habit; daydreaming about Liz. He knew by doing so he was only going to make staying away from her tonight that much harder, but he needed her, he needed her more now than he could ever remember needing her in the past.

From the first time Max saw Liz so long ago, she’d claimed his heart and soul without even knowing she’d done so. She’d become his shining star in a world that seemed empty and dark to a young boy who knew he didn’t belong. Even while believing there was no chance they could ever be together, or that she would ever be interested in someone like him, he had found just thinking about her provided him with a means of escape from the world and his problems.

Without further preambles, and in disregard to the consequences it would wreak on his senses, Max closed his eyes and allowed his head to fill with images and memories of Liz.

The first image to appear was of Liz as she had looked earlier that afternoon. She looked so beautiful as she pushed the swinging door between the kitchen and the dining room opened and stepped through flashing him a smile so bright it easily set his heart on fire. The red shirt she’d worn, with those thin straps, left her soft creamy shoulders visible to his eyes. Then there was the short black skirt she was wearing, it too revealed her shapely legs all the way up to her mid thighs. Her skin looked so inviting, when she’d reached his side, he had no choice but to run his finger tips over the exposed flesh allowing himself to sample their smoothness.

Lying on his bed, he wondered for the trillionth time if she had any idea what she did to him every time she would wear something that left her soft alluring flesh visible for his eyes to feast upon?

Other images of his beautiful love emerged in his mind. Some of which he lingered on longer than on others. One such image was of her as she sitting beside him in his jeep. Her dark silky strains glistened under the suns rays as it was blown softly against her bare shoulders and down her back. Knowing her hair is always as soft as it looks, he immediately found himself wishing she was here with him now so he could reach out and run his fingers through it.

Confident this wasn’t going to happen tonight, he pushed the thought aside and conjured up another image. This time it was of her smiling shyly at him the way she often did whenever she’d catch him staring at her or when she first noticed he’d entered a room. He especially liked this image because he could see all the love she felt for him in the way her chocolate umber eyes lit up and sparkled as they meet his gaze.

The already large smile on his face curled upward even more with the next image. In it, his personal enchantress was dressed in the same red laced panties and bra that’s she’d worn this afternoon at Michael’s. Only instead of her lying on Michael’s bed waiting for him, she was laying invitingly on his bed looking so beguiling a soft groan escaped from deep in his throat.

Max knew allowing his thoughts to continue to run amok as he had been, was a bad idea, but he couldn’t stop. Thinking of Liz was and would always be his favorite pass time. Why he had even tried to avoid something, he knew was near impossible was beyond him. He should have figured out long ago, any efforts he made to resist her whether in person or in his mind would always be in vain. All he’d succeeded in doing was delaying the inevitable.

As image after image of his enchantress swirled though his mind, enticing his growing need to be with her, the harder it became for him to remember why it was a bad idea. Clinging to the knowledge that there was a reason, even if he couldn’t remember it now, was the only thing keeping him seeking out Liz’s welcoming arms. He could feel the need to break through the fogginess that had enveloped his mind and regain a deeper sense of awareness to reality. If he didn’t, there was no question in his mind that there was no one who would be able to stop him from going to Liz.

Even as he undertook this battle, he knew must be win, a force seemingly from outside himself sent memories of their earlier escapade surging through his mind. These memories teased and taunted him with him a taste of the ecstacy he could find with Liz once again if only he gave in. He was quickly losing this battle, his need to hold her delicate body securely in his arms, feast freely upon her succulent lips and tender flesh, and to bury himself within her secret passage.

Reaching the brinks of insanity, unable to bare the sweet torture for even one more second, he resolved there was nothing more important than being with Liz. Whatever reason he had not to go to her couldn’t be as important as his reason for going.

Opening his eyes with full intent on heading straight for his window and to the Harding’s, where he knew Liz would welcome him with open arms, he was shock by the sight that awaited him.

TBC . . . .



Mary N
posted on 6-Sep-2001 8:11:06 AM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter 19


Reminder from the end of chapter 18:

Reaching the brink of insanity and unable to bare the sweet torture for even one more second, he resolved there was nothing more important than being with Liz. Whatever reason he had for not going couldn’t be as important as his reason for going.

He opened his eyes with full intent on heading straight for his window and to the Harding’s, where he knew Liz would welcome him with open arms, he was shock by the sight that awaited him.

Chapter Nineteen

No longer was Max laying in his own bed late at night. Instead he found himself somewhere out in the desert and the sun was already high in the sky.

*Where am I? How did I get here?* Were the first two questions on his mind as he looked around. It was quickly followed by, * Have Isabel and my parents noticed that I’m gone yet?* Looking up the sky once again and realizing it had to be close to noon, he was sure they had. *Liz! Isabel must have told Liz and the others by now. They’re all probably worried sick wondering what’s happened to me? Why can’t I remember anything? Maybe there is nothing to remember. Could I have fallen asleep and then someone. . ., but why didn’t I wake up when I was moved? There has to be more to this.*

Standing upright, he brushed the dirt off of his clothes, and turned around in a slow circle looking for some sign of life or a clue as to where he was and how he might get back to Liz and the others. As luck would have it, there were no familiar markings or rock formations. He saw no life, human or animal; only plant life sparsely spread out across the desert terrain. With no clue where he was or how he’d gotten there, Max decided his best plan of action was to get back to Roswell safely and as fast as he could. Knowing that both Highway 42 and Highway 285 run north and south, he decided his best hope of finding his way back home was to head West toward the setting sun, hoping to spot one of them. Placing one foot in front of the other, he began his long journey.
It felt like he’d been walking for only about an hour, but by the look of the sun which was now setting low in the sky, many hours had passed. Still seeing no sign of the either highway or any other landmark that he recognized, he continued to press on; his gaze transfixed on the brilliant hues of red, orange, and gold now streaking across the sky as the sun began it’s final descent behind the horizon.

Once the sunlight was completely obscured from view, Max noticed a different light coming from behind him. Turning to see where the light was coming from his mouth dropped open in surprise for yet a second time since this whole thing began. Instead of looking back at the terrain he’d covered during the many hours of walking he’d done, he was looking at the very same clearing he’d been in when he first opened his eyes and found himself in the desert. There was no doubt in his mind that it was the same clearing, but now, in the middle of it, was a burning torch and a number of good-sized stones placed side by side creating a reasonably large circle.

Baffled, with no reasonable explanation as to what was happening, Max cautiously crossed the distance back to the clearing where he stood outside of the stone circle. Max would have supposed that this was all as some kind of weird dream if not for the fact that it felt entirely too real. Even in his wildest of dreams he wouldn’t have come up with this particular setting. Even if he had, he wouldn’t have omitted Liz from the dream, especially if he knew he was dreaming. Not expecting a response, but unable to come up with even a possible meaning of any of this, he looked up into the night sky and called out, “What is this about? What do you want from me?”

As if in answer to his question, his gaze was drawn to five stars that appeared to be shining far brighter than any of the others. They were aligned into a ‘V’ shape. The sight of the constellation triggered a memory of he and Liz working on the computer in the Astrology Room at school last spring. It had been shortly after they’d found the first orb and Tess had arrived in town.

Still trying to figure this all out, he lowered his eyes from the sky to the desert floor expecting to see the circle of stones. Instead the area around him had changed. He was no longer standing in a place he didn’t recognize, but instead found himself in a place he knew very well, a place that held special meaning to both he and Liz. He was standing in the shadow of the old radio tower. A few feet away, spread out on the ground in the same place he had lain it out that night with Liz, was the blanket he always stored in the back of his jeep. Further in the distance, he noticed that his jeep was parked much like it had been that night. The only thing absent was Liz.
With the thought of Liz not being there still fresh on his mind, Max suddenly found himself back in the clearing with the torch and the circle of stones once again. This time, as he stood looking at the circle with a perplexed expression on his face, he felt a rush of urgency; indeed almost a sense of doom. Everything that was happening had something to do with Liz and why she wasn’t here with him.

Panic taking over, he took off running in the same direction he’d gone before, only this time he was running at top speed and calling out Liz’s name at the top of his lungs. He had to find and protect her at all cost. It didn’t matter what he had to do or who he had to do it to as long as it meant he was by her side once again. And if not, he would die trying.
~*~*~*~
Awakened by the sound of Max frantically calling out for Liz, Isabel rushed from her room to his. Reaching his bedside, she quickly noted the distorted, almost tortured look on his face. Wanting to wake him up from his nightmare and to quiet him down before he woke-up the rest of the household and/or the neighbors, Isabel grasped hold of Max’s shoulders and gave him a good hard shake. “Max, wake-up!”
***
Still trapped in his nightmare, Max was consumed with a sinking feeling. *What if I don’t reach her in time? What if she needs me and I’m not there for her? Will this be the day she needs me and I’m not there to protect her from my enemies? It can’t be, it just can’t be. My life wouldn’t be worth living if something happened to Liz. Could I even survive knowing something happened to her because of me, because of who I am and the role we play in each others lives?* These thoughts raised his level of desperation to find her to an even higher, almost unfathomable level of panic.

He continued to run until the burning in his lungs made it impossible for him to continue. The mixture of pain-wrenching anguish and lack of oxygen caused him to bend over and clasp hold of his knees for support as he sucked his lungs full of the required substance.

Prepared to press forward once again he raised his head, only to find that he was once again someone was toying with him. He was hunched over inside the circle of stones. Collapsing to his knees he let his tears flow freely down his checks and cried out Liz’s name in an agonizing wail. “LIZ! NO, LIZ! Why is this happening? Why are they doing this to me?”
~*~*~*~
In the time Isabel had been trying to wake him, his shirt had gone from mildly damp to saturated with perspiration. Whatever his nightmare was about, there was no doubt in her mind that it was having a disturbing effect on her brother; taking it’s toll on him both physically and mentally. Having had no luck waking Max, and his cries becoming more desperate, Isabel began to shake him more violently and her voice grew louder. “Come on, Max! It’s a dream. It’s only a dream. You have to wake-up! Max, you have to wake-up!”

Max’s eyelids sprang open and his body shot up into a sitting position. He called out Liz’s name one last time before he realized he was back in his room and that Isabel was there by his side.

Isabel noticed how disorientated he looked. He truly seemed surprised to be in his room. She continued to watch him as he seemed to struggle to get his bearings. His body visibly relaxed and his breathing became less labored. Suddenly, without warning or any provocation that she was aware of, he scurried off the foot of his bed and began throwing on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, and shoes. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that Max was planning on going somewhere, and that place was most likely Tess’s because that’s where Liz was tonight.

Wanting some kind of explanation as to what his dream had been about, she questioned, “Max, what happened? You wouldn’t wake up and . . ., please Max, what were you dreaming about?”

Having finished dressing, Max moved to his nightstand a grabbed hold of his keys. Seeing the warning device and the orb sitting there as well, he grabbed them too. Not once had he even acknowledged Isabel’s presence. The only thing he could think about was that he needed to be there with Liz to protect her.

Isabel, blocked his path as he moved toward the door and stomped her foot in frustration. “Maxwell Evans, don’t you dare ignore me. I’m not going to let you charge out of here like a mad man. You owe me an explanation as to what just happened. What was that dream about?”

“Is.” Max said her name as a plea, hoping she’d let this go for now.

“No way little brother. Look, you can explain it to me on the way. Let me grab some clothes and we’ll both go.”

“I can’t explain it right now, I don’t have time. Even if I did, I don’t completely understand it myself. But I have to go to Liz. I have to go now.”

“Fine, but not without me. Besides, you were the one that made up the rule about no one traveling alone, remember?”

Unbeknownst to either of them, their parents had been standing in the doorway watching and listening to their entire conversation. They, like Isabel, had heard Max calling out Liz’s name. Making their presences known, Phillip asked, “Where exactly are the two of you going and why? And don’t tell us you don’t have time to explain.”

Max looked to Isabel pleadingly; he didn’t have time for this. Isabel couldn’t ignore the look of desperation in her brothers’ eyes and caved, “Fine, Max, just go.”

Wasting no time, he grabbed his jacket off the back of his desk chair and tore out of the room as fast as his legs could carry him. While doing so, he heard Isabel calmly telling their parents, “Let me go throw some clothes on and I’ll explain everything I can on the way.”

Phillip, having seen the look of desperation on Max’s face and the understanding looks that passed between his children, resisted his impulse to stop Max and get his answers before anyone went anywhere. If he’d learned anything this night, it was that he was going to have to trust them and their instincts. This didn’t however keep him from worrying or needing to know why Max needed to run out of the house at three o’clock in the morning after waking up from a nightmare about his girlfriend. His first priority as a parent was to protect his children in anyway that he could.
*~*~*~*
It took Isabel all of two minutes to dress; she spent the next three minutes waiting for her parents. When they finally emerged from their room, she led the way out to their car and climbed into the driver seat. In response to her father’s questioning look, she said, “What? I can get us there faster, because I know where we’re going.”

Without saying a word he resigned his keys, and climbed into the back seat, since Diane was already in the front passenger seat. After Isabel had backed out of the driveway and was on her why, he began his bombardment of questions. “What’s going on Isabel? Has something happened to Liz Parker? Is that why Max rushed out of the house the way he did? Is he connected to her in ways the two of you haven’t told us about yet? Does he have the capability to sense when something is wrong with her?”

“I don’t know; not that he’s mentioned. All I know is that he had his reasons and the sooner we get there the sooner we’ll all know what they were.” Isabel answered as honestly. The only thing she knew for certain was that Max had experienced something in his dream that made him call out for Liz in his sleep. From his reaction, she’d assumed something about his dream scared him, but now she wasn’t so sure. She was beginning to think this could be something entirely different.

*It couldn’t be. Max is just being over protective and reacting to something he experienced in his dream. That’s it, he’s just over reacting to something he saw or felt in his dream.*

The more Isabel tried to convince herself of this, the less she believed it.

*What if. . ., just what if he really did sense something. He has seemed to be more in tune with Liz’s emotions the last few days. It might be possible that he’s developed a deeper connection to Liz than any of us had realized. If that’s the case, he could have been picking up on her emotions and was sensing whatever she was feeling. Liz and the others could really be in danger. If that’s the case. . . , wait, I can’t let my imagination get the better of me. This could all be some hormonal thing. That’s more likely, looking at their history. What if it wasn’t fear at all, but need? Oh my gosh, maybe,. . .*

Lost in thought, and oblivious to her parent’s watchful eyes, a hopeful smile replaced the worried expression she’d been wearing.

“ . . .just maybe that’s what this is about. If that’s the case, the orbs could be doing their thing again. They do have a way of bringing those two together at the most inopportune times. This could be nothing more than them being drawn together for the next clue to another orb. Oh good gracious, if I’m right, this means Max and Liz are going to be going at it like two rabbits in heat by time I get there.”

“Excuse me!”, both parents gasped causing Isabel to visibly pale, “Oops, I said that out loud didn’t I?”

“If you mean that ‘rabbits in heat’ statement, then, yeah you did.” Phillip stated clearly and then added, “I strongly suggest you show me how fast this car can go.”
~*~*~*~*~
TBC . . . .


Mary N

Edited by - Mary N OO8 on 09/07/2001 08:35:40
posted on 11-Sep-2001 1:44:39 PM by Mary N OO8
~*~*~*~
Chapter 20 A

During the wee hours of the morning, Liz woke-up crying out for Max expectantly. She’d been having the most unusual dream; a dream that had been so vivid it felt more like a memory than a dream. Even now as she lay in her bed, her body and spirit yearned to feel Max’s strong presence joined with her own as it had in her dream. Sitting up, she pulled her knees to her chest and buried her eyes against them. She rocked to and fro in an attempt to ease her feelings of loss.

Having gained a wisp of composure, Liz vaguely sensed that someone was watching her. Pulling her blanket higher against her chest, using it as a shield from her on lookers’ gaze, she slowly raised her head and allowed her own eyes to creep around her unfamiliar surroundings until they came to rest on a dark-haired masculine figure who was leaning against the door frame.

His gaze locked with hers, making her feel even more uneasy. His presence seemed familiar and yet very unsettling. It only took a fraction of a second for this person’s identity to dawned on her, causing her breath to catch in her throat. *Nesado.*

She would have recognized him sooner if it hadn’t been for his new form, which had come about due to insistence of both Tess and Maria. The two of them insisted it would be less conspicuous if they were to have an older brother type figure hanging around rather than an over protective father. Especially after various people in town were sure to have noticed Mr. Harding had been an absent father for several weeks.

Keeping with their plan for Nesado to play her older brother, Tess insisted there be some subtle difference between herself and her pretend brother. First and foremost, being that he was male, she insisted that he needed to have a strong masculine build and of course a handsome face. She wasn’t going to be seen hanging around with an older brother who would be seen as wimpy or ugly.

Nesado was receptive to her request, possibly a little too receptive in fact. One would think he was looking forward just a little too much to playing the part of someone in his early twenties. In addition to the changes Tess had insisted on, he had a few of his own. Instead of having blonde hair like Tess and pale blue eyes, he chose a dark golden brown for his hair and a warm aqua-blue color for his eyes.

Although Liz openly admitted she preferred this version of Nesado over that of Ed Harding, she refrained from mentioning that in either form, she found his presence unnerving. After watching him effortlessly transform his appearance and voice from that of one person to another, she found it even more so. Even though she was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, she found it hard to forget that this person, in whatever form he took, was still the same person who had abducted her and lead Agent Pierce to Max. Nor could she forget that he’d kissed her and she’d seen the dark empty vortex of his soul.

Trying desperately not to panic or jump to any unwarranted conclusions about why he would be standing in her doorway watching her sleep, Liz forced herself to stay calm as she waited for him to explain himself. If not for the knowledge that all she had to do was call out and Michael, Tess, Kyle, Alex, and Maria would instantly come to her aid, she didn’t think she would have been able to hold herself together.

Nesado did in fact break the silence, but only after coming to a stop less than three feet from the right side of the bed she was still sitting on. “Is everything okay?” Seeing a quizzical look pass over Liz’s face, Nesado pressed forward, “You were calling out for Max in your sleep and in his absence, I felt it best that I should check in on you to make sure everything was all right. Is it? Is everything all right in here?” He scanned the room briefly, his eyes leaving her for the first time since she’d become aware of his presence.

Liz was troubled and scared by his close proximity, but she refused to show even the slightest inkling of that fear to him. The last thing she wanted to do was give Nesado the upper hand in this or any other given circumstance. Squaring her shoulders slightly, she answered as calmly as she could muster, “Everything’s fine, so if you don’t mind, I’d like to go back to sleep now.”

Nesado wasn’t convinced. In fact by the way she continued to hold her knees tightly up against her small frame and cling to the blanket she’d pulled up her chest, he was confident that she was lying. However, he suspected her body language had more to do with his presence than the dream she’d been having. Knowing full well how protective his king is of this girl and that she would certainly tell him of his the events of this night, he suspected that if they didn’t settle their differences now, he would never get another chance.

Not wanting to act disrespectfully towards her request and therefore make this situation worse than it already was, he turned toward the door and took one step in its direction. Still facing away from her he asked, “Ms. Parker, I’ll leave, but before I do . . . ” He turned to face her once again, and proceeded. “ . . . may I ask you a question?”

Receiving weak but affirming consent, Nesado took two steps back in her direction and watched her reaction to him doing so. “Does my presence in Roswell make you nervous?” He already had his answer. He’d received it as she winced back from him as he’d moved closer to her, but what surprised him was the way she counter her previous falter by sitting a little taller and answering him honestly.

“Truthfully? Yes. As a matter of fact your presence does makes ‘me’ very uncomfortable.” Seeing as Nesado was going to be straightforward with what he wanted to know from her, she decided she was going to do the same with him. “I haven’t seen or heard anything to give me reason to trust you or change my opinion about you, and until I do, your presence is going to make me nervous.”

“Fair enough. I know that what I’m going to say will put your mind at rest. I can see that only my actions can do that. Nevertheless, I would still like to tell you something.” Again he paused, waiting for her to give him permission to continue. She did without hesitation, even though her eyes still told him that it didn’t matter what he said; that he was still going to have to prove where his loyalties lay. “As much as I enjoyed our road trip to the carnival, I will never cross the line again, nor will I presume to take such liberties with your time. I’ve made no secret as to how I feel about humans in general, but ever since our little trip together; I don’t see you as a typical human. Obviously Max sees this difference as well and that must be what has drawn him to you.”

Liz really didn’t want to listen to what Nesado had to say. The only thing she did want at that moment was for Nesado to leave her in peace, and to feel Max wrap her into his protective embrace. Nesado’s mentioning of that horrible day brought up such painful memories, she couldn’t help the sharpness of her response. “Is there a reason you’re telling me all this or do you just enjoy hearing the sound of your new voice?”

“Here I thought it was your friend Maria that had the quick-witted tongue. Looks like she’s rubbed off on you.” Only a shy smirk crossed his face before he continued. “I’ll get right to the point Ms. Parker. I don’t expect you to trust or believe me and it really doesn’t matter in the least if you do or not. I just want to say that even if my actions over the years make you question my loyalty to my king, to Max, I would never do anything to betray him. Along with my loyalty to him, I have also sworn my loyalty to his queen, for she is my queen as well. If there is any question as to who that is, let me make it very clear to you. . . your Majesty.”

The shocked expression on Liz’s face made him smile, truly smile; the first real smile Liz could ever remember seeing coming from this man. It didn’t last nearly as long as she would have liked, but it made her see him as little more human. He pressed forward with what he was saying, “As my kings chosen mate you are his queen, therefore you are my queen as well. As such, I will do everything within my power to protect you as if you were carrying the next heir to the throne of Antar which undoubtedly one day you will. I have now said all that I have to say, so with your permission, I’ll take my leave.”

“Wait!” Even as she said it, she couldn’t believe that she’d asked him to remain in the room with her. “Why are you telling me this now, at. . .” Liz looked at the clock on the bed stand for the first time since waking from her slumber. “Three-thirty in the morning?”

“I had no intention of disturbing you when I came into your room. I was merely trying to decide when I should tell you and what I should tell you about where I stand as far as my loyalties are concerned. I sensed you wouldn’t be able to sleep even upon my departure so I felt now was as good as time as any.”

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” Max’s soft baritone voice vibrated angrily through the room as he crossed the distance between the door and Liz’s side, where he took a protective stance between this stranger and the love of his life.

TBC . . . Part B will be up as soon as I get it back from my Beta. Please leave feed back.

Mary N
posted on 13-Sep-2001 6:18:58 PM by Mary N OO8
Chapter Twenty - part B


“It’s okay, Max. ‘That,’ is Nesado. He only came in to check on me, to make sure I was okay”, Liz quickly explained before Max could do anything rash. She purposely neglected to mention what they’d been discussing, seeing no point in doing so until she decided whether to believe what he’d been saying or not.

Max’s mind raced with possible reasons why Nesado would feel the need to check on Liz in the middle of the night. If this had been any other night Max would have been thinking more clearly, but after the vivid dream he’d had all he could think about was Liz being in danger. “Why would he . . . , did something happen?”

The concerned yet gruff nature in which Max had asked his question concerned Liz. Looking for the reasoning behind it, she turned a questioning eye on him. That’s when she saw it, a look of pain and torment written clearly in his furrowed brow and in his eyes. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she saw anger there as well; however she couldn’t tell if that anger was directed at Nesado or at himself. Wanting to take that pain away, she answered him as calmly and reassuringly as possible. “Max, nothing’s wrong. Really.”

The skepticism still in his expression told her she was going to have to explain further regardless of how uncomfortable doing so in front of Nesado was going to make her. Suspecting her face was already slightly flush, she lowered allowing her hair to curtain her face from view. “I had this very vivid dream . . . , it was . . . , it was very intense and . . . , anyway, I was calling out for you in my sleep.”

*Coincidence? Liz and I both waking up calling out for each other on the same night after having vivid dreams, coincidence?* Max wondered. He wanted to know more about Liz’s dream. He needed to know if it was the same dream, something similar, or completely different from his own. Unfortunately that would have to wait. After hearing the way she’d stumbled though her admission of having an intense dream, he suspected it would be easier to get her to tell him about it if Nesado wasn’t in the room. With this in mind, he decided it best to deal with the questions he had for Nesado first and wait momentarily on the ones he had for Liz. “Nesado? Why the new face?”

“Oh, that was Tess and Maria’s idea.” Liz jumped in before Nesado had the chance to answer. She was grateful beyond words that Max had changed the subject and was excited about being the one who got to fill him in on what had happened in his and Isabel’s absence.

“The two of them put their heads together and suggested; wait, more like insisted, that it would be less conspicuous to have someone our own age hanging out with us instead of Tess’s dad or having Nesado shift into someone else and follow us around all the time. It does make perfect sense if you think about it. I mean, this way we don’t have to explain why suddenly Ed Harding has suddenly gone from being this absent parent to being an overly protective one; especially since by now practically the entire town knows that Ed Harding pulled a disappearing act a few weeks before school let out. Also, this way he doesn’t have to worry about changing forms from one person to another to prevent anyone from realizing that he’s following us.”

“To make his quick acceptance into our group more believable, we decided the best way to do that was to have him play the part of Tess’s older brother and say that he’s home from college for the summer. He’ll tell everyone that he came to Roswell because he wanted to spend time with his kid sister and get to know her new friends. Maria was also saying something about it not hurting their reputation if they were to be seen around town with a hansom older guy.”

“Both Maria and Tess were in on this?” Max asked with a relaxed smirk on his face. Annexing a raised eyebrow to his expression, he added, “It’s a scary thought when those two start thinking alike.”

“Tell me about it.” Liz replied with a joyous chuckle.

“They didn’t happen to come up with a new name to go with his new face did they?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact they did. Max Evans, I would like to introduce you to Trent Harding.”

“Trent? Is that they best they could come up with. It sounds, I don’t know; preppie.”

“It could have been worse, believe me. Trent was one of the more mild names they were throwing out there. At first they were thinking about calling him Skip, or Chet. And then there was . . .” Liz paused, feeling bad as she suddenly realized how she’d been going on and on about this and Nesado was still standing in the room. She’d completely disregarded his presence. Liz wasn’t worried that she’d said anything that would offend him by making fun of the name he’d finally settled on. They’d all, excluding Nesado of course, had all had a good laugh earlier at some of the names Maria and Tess had suggested. So much so that they were all throwing out the wildest names they could think of. Wanting to include him in their conversation, even if in a small way, Liz asked, “Nesado, I mean Trent. What other names were there?”

“My two favorites had to be Biff and Alfred.”

“Biff and Alfred? Good grief! I’d have to go with Liz on this one. Trent is definitely better than Biff or Alfred.”

Liz was thoroughly enjoying their light camaraderie and the laughter that filled the air, but she knew it was time for it to come to an end. It was time to get back to more important issues like, “Max, why did you come over tonight after telling me that you wouldn’t be able to? Not that I’m complaining mind you. I’m really glad you came. I’m just curious that’s all.”

Max was smiling helplessly at Liz; he couldn’t help himself. She looked so cute sitting in that oversized bed clinging to her covers, her hair ruffed from sleep, and flush and glowing from laughter. Still feeling playful and not wanting that feeling to go away just yet, he sidestepped her question and asked one of his own. “You’re glad I’m here are you?”

“Yes, I am. Was there ever any doubt? Now stop avoiding my question and spill it or I’m going to . . . , I’m going to send you right back home where you came from.”

Max looked back and forth between Liz and Trent/Nesado. He really didn’t want to go into the detail of his dream in front of Nesado any more than she seemed to have wanted to earlier. After a brief pause, Max turned his full attention to elevating both of their problems. “Nesado, if you don’t mind, I’ve got things covered from here. Why don’t you head to bed and get some rest?”

“Meaning no disrespect, but I don’t think I can do that.” Nesado responded simply.

“Why not?” Were the only two words Max needed to question Nesado’s unexpected response.

“This would normally be my room and that’s my bed. Besides, I felt it best to allow those who need their rest more should be allowed to get it. In addition, with our suspicions that your enemies are now here in Roswell, it’s my obligation to make sure everyone stays safe throughout the night.”

“I appreciate that.” Max shared a quick glance with Liz to confirm that she hadn’t told anyone about the warning device his mother had found, and then turned back to Nesado. “As to it only being suspected that our enemies are in town, as of earlier this evening, it’s been confirmed.”

For the second time that evening, Liz saw signs of authentic emotions on Trent/Nesado’s face as he rattled off question after question scarcely giving Max and opportunity to answer any of them.
“What? How do you know? Did something happen? Why didn’t you say anything about this when you first got here? Do you think they know who you are? What about Isabel? Is she okay?”

“Nesado! Nesado! Stop! Everything is fine. There have been no encounters or anything like that. Isabel is fine; that is if you consider having to answer my parent’s million-and-one questions ‘fine?’ I’ll explain later it all later. Right now, I need to talk to Liz alone. Make sure there are no interruptions.” Max wrapped his arm around Liz’s shoulder possessively, trying to relay to Nesado that what he had to talk to Liz about was meant for her ears and her ears alone.

Ensuing from the simple contact created by Max’s tender gesture, Liz felt a wave of intense longing to unite both physically and spiritually with her soul mate spreading through her body like wild fire. It happened so fast she was almost certain that Max was some how projecting his needs onto her, and yet, he didn’t seem to be as affected by their contact and close proximity as she was.

In the past, the orbs seemed to merely intensify her already existing desires; increasing her need to both give and receive intimate physical pleasure to and from the love of her life. What she was currently experiencing was this and more. The intense longing within her to make love with Max was still present and as strong as ever, but accompanying her physical desires was something deeper. Something more spiritual than physical. This new combination ignited an internal flame of such magnitude, her body quivered involuntarily.

Max flash flashed with concern when he felt Liz’s body temperature increase and begin to tremble under his touch. No longer concerned with whether Nesado had left or not, he turned his whole body to face hers. “Liz?”


Mary N
posted on 23-Sep-2001 10:53:23 AM by Mary N OO8
'Chosen Avenues' is the sequel to 'Exploring Avenues'. If you haven't read 'Exploring Aveneus' yet, I would strongly suggest that you do. Here is a direct link to chapter one: http://pub24.ezboard.com/fmarynsroswellfanfictionfrm1.showMessage?topicID=14.topic



Chosen Avenues
Chapter Twenty-one
~*~*~*~
Closing the door behind him as he left Max and Liz alone, Trent/Nesado headed for the stairs. Max’s choice to have a private conversation with Liz at a time when he should be calling everyone together and filling them all in on the latest developments puzzled and frustrated him. It seemed to him that he needed to have a talk with Max about the order of his priorities.

From down below he heard the front door open, followed shortly by it slamming shut. Picking up his pace, he was half way down the steps when he came face to face with two very exasperated parents, both simultaneously asking where their son was. Having been told by Max not to allow any interruptions, Nesado found himself in an explosive situation. Placing himself center on the stairs, effectively blocking their path if they were to try getting to Max on their own, he proceeded with his first official role as Trent Harding. Changing his demeanor, he angrily asked, “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?”

Seeing this stranger standing in front of her, Isabel pulled in a startled breath. Mentally lecturing herself on keeping it together and not letting her fear dictate her actions, she slipped into her ice princess facade. She pushed her fears aside, and turned to look at Alex who had apparently been sleeping on the couch and was making his way to her side.

Thinking quickly, Alex came up with a way to let Isabel know what was going on, “Um, Isabel? Ah, you haven’t met Tess’s older brother yet have you? Isabel Evans, this is Trent Nesado Harding. He showed up last night surprising us all.”

The middle name reference wasn’t missed by either parent. It was apparent that Max hadn’t taken the time to tell Alex that they now knew the truth about their secret life. Seeing as how he now knows about this Nesado guy, Phillip wanted a few words with him, but first things first; he wanted to see Max and he wanted to see him now. “Trent Nesado is it? Or is it just Nesado?” Phillip watched as the young man before him turned to Isabel for confirmation of what he was implying. Having witnessed that she’d done so, he asked, “Where is my son? Where’s Max?”

“Since you obviously know who I am and who Max really is, you should appreciate the fact that I have orders not to let anyone disturb him. He has a few things he needs to discuses with Ms. Parker in private.”

“I don’t care what kind of orders you have! I want to know where my son is and I want to know now!”

“If knowing is all you want, I just left them in the master bedroom. If you want. . .” Nesado paused in what he was saying as Phillip tried to push his way past him. He easily detained him by grabbing hold of his left arm as he shifted his body to the right blocking the path Phillip was trying to take. “. . . if you want to see Max, then you are going to have to wait until he’s done.”

“Get your hands off of me! I came over here to talk to ‘my’ son and that’s exactly what I plan to do!”

“Not right now you don’t!” Trent/Nesado motioned for Diane to move back into the living room and then, while still holding firmly onto Phillip’s arm, he descended down the remaining steps and escorted him to the couch Alex had previously been sleeping on. “You can either sit and wait, or you can leave. The choice is yours, but I warn you; don’t make me do anything I’ll regret.”
***
Waking up to the sound of yelling coming from outside his and Maria’s room, Michael thought he recognized Mr. Evans’ voice, but he dismissed it. *Max and Isabel are at home, surely their dad wouldn’t be here.*

Dressed in only his jeans, and followed by Maria who was wearing only his T-shirt, he went out to investigate what wad really going on.. In the upstairs hallway they were joined by a very tired looking Tess and Kyle, who were also dressed only in the bare essentials. Together the four of them quickly descended the stairs reaching the landing just in time to witness Nesado releasing his grip on Phillip Evans’ arm.

Isabel and Alex were staring at Nesado in disbelief when Michael, Maria, Kyle, and Tess came squiring down the steps. “What the . . .,” Knowing better than to curse in front of the Evans’, Michael paused to rethink his words. “What is going on here, Trent? Mr. and Mrs Evans, why are the two of you here at this unholy hour of the morning?”

Nesado turned to glare at Michael. Michael may be Max’s second, but he has no authority over him. He only answers to his king or queen in the king’s absence, no one else.

“I’ll ask one more time, what’s going on here?”
*~*~*~*
Upon Nesado’s departure of the master bedroom, Max turned his gaze to Liz once more.

To say that she’d never ever experienced anything even remotely similar to what she was currently experiencing would have been a lie. However, it had only happened once before. Well, twice . . . if you counted what happened during her dream and a milder version she’d been subjected to upon waking from that dream. Nothing natural or orb related could compare. The combined intensity of both physical and spiritual longing was something new, strange, scary, and wonderful all at the same time. Ablaze with an internal flame of a fiery pitch, her body began to quiver involuntarily.

Unfortunately there was one problem. Even though she knew what she needed and wanted, Liz didn’t know how to go about fulfilling those needs. How to satisfy her desire was a given. She’d already experienced passion and fulfillment with the man she loves, but to satisfy the needs of her soul; that was a mater of a different nature. If not for the dream, which seemed to be the key to what was happening to her, she would have never believed a joining of the souls was possible. By human means that was true, it was simply unattainable and yet she longed for the union.
*~*~*~*~*
The concern on Max’s face was quickly replaced as her eyes met his. He too felt his body react in kind to the amount of desire burning within her deep reflective pools. Hungrily he fastened his lips to hers in a searing kiss. Within mere pulses of their beating hearts, flashes erupted through their minds. While Liz witnessed the highlights of what Max had seen and felt during his dream, he too witnessed the highlights of what she’d experienced.

*Flash*
Liz is standing inside a massive garden filled with flowers of every color imaginable, every one unlike any Max had ever remembered seeing on Earth. However, this garden seemed familiar to him, only he couldn’t place where from until he spotted the large circle of smooth stones in the center of the garden.

For reasons he didn’t begin to understand any more than he had understood his own dream, he was seeing Liz standing in the mist of the same garden they’d seen in their visions a few weeks prior. The very same garden in which they’d witnessed ceremonies using the orbs being preformed.

*Flash*
No longer was Liz surrounded by magnificent colors of the rainbow, but was instead standing against a backdrop of desert browns, and olive and forest greens. There was no doubt in his mind that he was seeing the same clearing he’d seen in his own dream earlier that evening. As in his dream, the stone circle was in place and the sun was slipping into the horizon.

*Flash*
Liz kneeling down in the center of the circle holding one orb in her hand and trying to pick up a second, but the second orb wouldn’t move from its place in the center regardless of what she tried. Soon she stopped trying and relinquished her hold on the second orb and made herself more comfortable on the ground. Sitting Indian style, she began to trace her finger over the Seer’s symbol on the surface of the orb.

With every stroke of her finger around the insignia, Max could feel the air changing; growing thick with vigorous exertion of ionic power. The sun began moving across the sky at an unnatural pace, descending from the sky and making way for the stars to shine and flicker against the black canopy of a moonless night sky.

The stars were so bright, Max couldn’t take his eyes off of them. They flashed and flickered in what seemed to be a pattern, not unlike the dots and dashes used in ‘Morse-code.’ In a passing thought, he wondered if they were trying to tell him what all of this meant. He wished they were and that he could understand; it would make all of this so much easier.

His gaze returned to Liz, as he felt her intimate desires flare to life. His own body was awakening with equal vigor as he longed to answer the primal urges building deep within his core. Hearing his name escaping her sweet lips, he forgot this was a mere memory and eagerly closed the gap between them. Again she called out to him, and yet she didn’t acknowledge his presence as he knelt by her side. Reaching out to touch her angelic face, he was reminded that neither he nor she was really there as his hand passed right through her.

Even though he couldn’t touch and feel the warmth of her flesh against his hand, he could feel her presence, her emotions, her desires, and the growing ache for fulfillment increasing within her body at a steady and rapid pace. His own (flesh or libido) was responding to the stimulations she was receiving causing his chest to rise and fall faster and faster with each breathe he took, with each sure beat of his heart. He was feeling delirious from the flow of desire roaring off of her and through his veins as well as the sensation of something unknown. Whatever this unknown element was, it was effectively stimulating Liz in a manner that was also increasing her craving for more and more of it. Feelings of warmth flushed through Liz and subsequently through him as he watched her face light up with indescribable emotions as well as something unnameable.

Patience and time were not of essence for Max as his eyes rested upon the figure of the one person he so desired. Courses of electricity as well as tingling sensations pulse through them both, driving both through immense pleasure, yet rebuffed them from the true purpose that both cannot describe. *End of Flashes*

Max and Liz both pulled back simultaneously swallowing hard as they stared deep into each other’s eyes. The longing they felt for each other could be plainly seen within their lover eyes. Sensitivity resided in their nerve endings as pressures slammed through their bodies. An itching for something unnameable still electrified the room. Though their minds longed for the answers of what their dreams had meant, the only question they sought the answer of was, “What was the quickest way to rid themselves of the barriers between them?”

First they begin by trying to remove each others clothing, but quickly settled on removing their own, knowing it would take less time. With each delay they felt frustration becoming more unbearable. As they finally discarded the last of their clothes, they wasted no time clinging to each other. Their lips welded together with such longing and unsatisfied thirst, that air no longer seemed to be the primary necessity for their lives.

Their joining was swift and violent, no preamble caresses or whispers of endearments were required or sought, for their equal need for completion was setting their rapid pace to bliss. They could feel the end approaching quickly in a whirlwind resulting in their joyous cries of pleasure as they tumbled over into ecstasy together.

Physically satisfied, they laid in a tight embrace clinging to each other, both feeling physically exhausted; and yet there was a longing for something still missing, something unknown.

Liz was the first to break the silence that had prevailed over the room. “Max, you feel it to. Don’t you? That something is missing?”

“Yeah. It’s not something . . .”

“Something we’ve shared before, but something we know we can have.”

Max nodded mutely. Whatever it was they were missing, he knew it wasn’t something that they’d know before, but something these dreams had awakened within them.

In the same instant, they pulled back and sought out each other’s eyes and said, “It’s time. We have to go.”

Knowing there was no time to waste, Max waved his hand over Liz’s body, ridding her of all evidence of their activities, and followed up by doing the same to himself. They both dressed as quickly as possible, gathered the items from the room that they suspected they might need, and left the room hand in hand.

Descending the steps, they were met with nine sets of inquiring eyes. Max hated doing this to his parents again, but hoped in time they would understand. He walked directly over to Tess, pulling Liz behind him. “Tess, we need the orb I gave you to put away, and we need it now.” Seeing the questioning looks she was giving him, he stated it with more gusto. “Now Tess! I need that orb now!”

“All right Max. I’ll go get it.” She answered before leaving the room and heading up the stairs. While she was gone, Max took a few minutes to try and explain what was going on. “I don’t have time to explain what’s going on completely, but I’ll do my best. Liz and I both are having dreams, very vivid dreams. We are being lead by the orbs to a certain place. We can’t say why, only that we won’t be complete until we do.”

“What do you mean complete? And what is the big rush? It doesn’t have to be right this minute does it? I mean you can at least give the rest of us time to get dressed, right?”

“No Maria.” Liz answered her long time friend. “This is about just me and Max. It’s private.”

“There is no way you are leaving this house without us, Maxwell. You know the rules. No one is to be out there alone. Our enemies are here and there is no way we are going to let you take that kind of risk. If it has to be private, we can stay far enough away to . . .”

“No Michael. This is not up for discussion. It has to be just Liz and I.”

“I have to agree with Michael, your Highness. You shouldn’t be taking unnecessary risks with you safety or that of your intended. Max, you are too important. Without you, the others don’t stand a chance of freeing your people. Everything that has happened, the lives that have been lost, it will have all been for nothing. At least let myself and Michael accompany you.” Trent/Nesado urged, hoping to get Max to see reason.

Tess chose that moment to return. Max accepted the orb she held out to him as he sternly reiterated what he’d previously said. “Liz and I are going alone. We have to do this ourselves.”
Phillip didn’t pretend to understand what was going on, and from his experience with Nesado so far, he didn’t like the guy. However, he had to agree with both him and Michael about Max heading out into the night with only Liz by his side. From everything he’d heard earlier this night he knew his son and Liz’s lives were in grave danger. “Max, you should listen to Michael and even this Nesado guy. It’s dangerous out there for the two of you right now. You know that ‘thing’ warned you about your enemies being close. Besides, you still owe your mother and me an explanation about why you felt you had to come charging over here at this hour of the morning. Now start explaining”

Adjusting his grip on Liz’s hand, Max pulled her closer to him and headed for the door. As the others in the room made a move to stop him, Max raised his left hand and a blue light emulated from his palm blocking them from doing so.

“Max, what . . ., when . . .” Liz implored, ignoring the similar questions coming from the others gathered in the room. She’d never seen Max do whatever it was he was doing, before.

Nesado was the only one to have seen a shield of this type before. He himself had never mastered it, and to see his king do it so effortlessly reassured him that Max was indeed meant to be the leader of the royal f. . ., correction, the four times two. “From everyone’s reaction, I’m guessing that this is a new power, Max”; said Nesado. “It’s a very handy power, but remember you can’t keep it up forever. And all your enemies have to do is wait for you to drain your powers and then take you.”

“That isn’t going to happen. Liz and I will be safe. The Seer wouldn’t be calling to us if she’d seen that it would cost us our lives.”

“The Seer? She’s beckoning to you? To the two of you? How can you be so sure?” This was something else new to Nesado. Never before had he heard of the Seer seeking out anyone like this, it had always been the other way around. Someone, thousands of someones always sought out the Seer.

“We know what we know. That’s all that matters at this point.” Enough already! It was time for them to get out of there and do what they needed to do. Max, still holding up his hand, keeping his friends and family at bay, he began walking backwards the remaining distance to the door. After Liz stepped outside, he followed, but before turning to follow her to his jeep he sternly told the others not to follow them.

“Maxwell Evans, you hold it right there mister!” Phillip ordered as he began his pursuit of his son out the door. “Don’t think that you are getting out of this that easy. You owe your mother and I an explanation and we expect you to . . .” Phillip was beyond frustration by this point. Max was leaving without so much as acknowledging the fact that he was talking to him. Phillip was even more flustered than before because he realized that there wasn’t a thing he could do about it.

Diane clasped her husbands upper arm with both hands in a reassuring manner as her calm voice worked its magic. “Phillip, we have no choice but to trust Max’s instincts now. He’s is special Phillip, and so many responsibilities rest on his young shoulders. Lets give him the time he needs, and he’ll talk to us when he’s ready. Look at how much he’s already opened up to us today. The rest will come if we don’t push him away.”

Michael rushed to the door. There was no way he was going to allow Max to go anywhere without some kind of backup. Before stepping through the archway, he turned expectantly to Nesado. “Well, aren’t you coming?”

Shaking his head no in disgust, Nesado’s aggravation could clearly be heard as he answered, “You hear him. He said not to follow.”

“Since when does that matter?” Michael answered dismissively before turning to the others in the group. “Isabel? Tess? What about you two? Are you willing to let Max and Liz go running off on their own like this or are you coming with me?”

“Don’t forget about me Spaceboy! Alex and Kyle either. We are all a part of this now. I for one am with you. I say we go, keep out of sight, and watch their backs whether they want us to or not.”

“Maria, you can’t . . .” Michael began only to cut himself off. If he was sure about one thing it was that Maria was safer with him than she would be left to her own devices. In addition, there was no way of knowing whether their enemies knew who they were or not and, if they did, if they would go after those they cared the most about? “Fine! You can go, but you had better do as you are told the first time I tell you or I swear. . . .”

“I get the point all ready, geez!”

Isabel, with her mouth gaping open, stood staring at the door Max and Liz had just gone through. Not a word Michael had spoken penetrated into her thoughts, she was too preoccupied trying to grasp onto the fact that it had been her brother, Max Evans, who had just dismissed the entire room, including his parents, without so much as a second thought. She’d never seen him act this way in his life, and surprisingly it seemed to suit him. It served to testify to her that he was confident that what he was doing was in fact the right choice.

Tess and Kyle exchanged glances, and silently agreed that they were staying out of this. If Max and Liz felt that they needed to be alone to do whatever it was they needed to do with the orbs, than who were they question their judgement. Especially when it was the two of them who had been right about everything leading them to this point in the first place. Besides, the idea of heading back upstairs and getting some desperately needed sleep sounded far more appealing to them than going on a wild goose chase when their presence was blatantly stated, ‘not wanted.’

As hard as he tried to keep his mouth shut, Alex just couldn’t do it. The conversation was just too perfect. “What is everyone so worried about? As heated up as Max is right now, I’m sure we don’t have to worry about him having enough fire power. Besides, Max hasn’t had to worry about protection for some time now. Liz covered all of those bases months ago.”

Isabel slapped him across the shoulder, “Alex! Shut up would you? Have you forgotten that my parents are present for heaven sakes?”

She turned to look and see what her parent’s reaction to Alex’s statement was, and knew she was in even hotter water than before. In an effort to make a hasty retreat, she smiled and asked, “Would anyone like any protection, I. . . I. . . I mean something to drink?” Isabel stammered and then turned to leave the room not bothering to waiting for an answer. Her departure was halted when she heard Michael bellowing, “Fine, you all want to sit around here and pretend that everything is hunky-dory. I’m out of here. Someone has to follow them and make sure that nothing happens to them.” He then turned on his heals and headed out the door.

The other teens exchanged glances that charged out after him leaving Trent/Nesado to keep Phillip and Diane from doing the same.

TBC. . .
Mary N

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Apr-2002 3:21:03 PM ]
posted on 23-Sep-2001 3:03:19 PM by Mary N OO8
This is a shameless bump. I couldn't believe it slipped to the third page so quickly after posting this new part.

Mary N
posted on 28-Sep-2001 1:38:35 PM by Mary N OO8
I just wanted to let you all know that I haven't forgotten you. I just haven't had a lot of time to write this week.

One of my daughters is being baptized tomorrow (Sunday, Sept.30) and I've been working hard trying to get everything ready. With family coming into town, that includes cleaning all those places that many times gets over looked in normal cleaning. Like on top and under the refrigerator, cleaning all the knickknacks that sit above the cabinets, and under the bathroom sinks.

As soon as this weekend is over, I'll work extra hard to get the next part out for all of you.



Mary N
posted on 5-Nov-2001 7:38:50 PM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter Twenty-two A

After traveling over three hours north on highway 285 and 40W, the last one of those hours in companionable silence, Liz felt the need to speak. “Max, we are almost to Albuquerque. When we get there, do you think we could pull over at a gas station. I really need to use the lady’s room and stretch my legs for a few.”

“Are you sure you can’t read my mind, because I was thinking the same thing? I was also thinking that we should fill up the gas tank and grab something to eat as well while we’re there as well.”

“Now that you mention it, something to eat sounds really good.” Thinking beyond this meal, Liz adds, “Do you think we should find ourselves a grocery store while we are here and pickup some provisions to last us a few days? You know, just in case this ends up taking awhile.”

Max hadn’t been able to stop thinking about what was going to happen to him and Liz when they got back to Roswell. Was his father going to go ballistic, and ground him for the rest of his life? Judging by the sound of his father’s voice and the angry look on his face, Max wouldn’t put it past him. At this point in time, the best he could hope for was that his father would cool down enough to try and understand that when he got these strong impressions, he has to act on them regardless of how crazy and unthought out they may seem. Not wanting to deal with his father, or their surely angry friends anytime soon, Max added, “Good idea, but are you sure we shouldn’t make that a week’s worth of supplies instead, or maybe even a month’s?”

“A month, Max? I don’t think . . .”

“I don’t know Liz.” Max interrupted, “It may take that long for my parents and our friends to cool off after the way we left them hanging back there.”

Liz raised her eyebrows questioningly as an all-knowing smirk took residence on her face. “And you think our staying away longer is going cool them off? You do know your deluding yourself right? Besides, if I know anything about your parents and our friends, it’s that the longer were away, the more worried and angry they are going to get. Oh my gosh, Max! What about my parents? Can you imagine what my parents are going to do to us when they hear we took off for heaven knows where for who knows how long? They are going to be livid to say the least and we are talking one night here. I’d hate to think how they would react to a week or a month.”

Max physically cringed at the idea of having to try and explain his and Liz’s trip her mother, not to mention her father. Suddenly a picture of Jeff Parker tying a rope around him and dragging him down the streets of Roswell behind his car, like they used to do behind horses in the old west movies, flashed through his mind. *Nope! Not willing to get on Liz’s dad’s bad side. Got to find away to keep this from blowing up in our faces.*

Just as Max was about to start planning a way out of this, Liz interrupted his thoughts with one more revelation, “Oh no! I was supposed to work the afternoon shift today with Maria and Michael.”

“Don’t worry. I’m sure they’ll cover for you.”

“No. I mean, I can’t do that to them. I can’t expect Maria to cover the lunch crowd by herself. Wait, I know, I’ll call Kelly. She was saying something just the other day about being willing to take on some extra hours. I even heard her saying something to one of the other girls that if she needed some extra time off to give her a call.”
*~*~*~*
After using her cell phone to make a quick call to Kelly, Liz turned sideways in her seat so that she was facing Max. “That’s one problem taken care of, now to figure out what to tell my parents.”

While Liz had been busy on the phone, Max was running through possible solutions for this very problem. The first one that came to mind seemed the easiest. “Did you have a chance to talk to your parents about the nightly sleepovers?”

“Only briefly. I didn’t go home last night remember.”

“That wouldn’t work then. Next choice! You need to call your parents and tell them that you got Kelly to cover your shift. The fewer surprises they get right now the better. While on the phone with them, tell them that needed the afternoon off because we’re hoping to make our first group trip within the next week or so and that we needed to go and do some additional research to decide where we wanted to go for our first trip.”

“That covers this part of the day, but what about tonight? What am I going to tell them to explain why I’m not coming home tonight when I’d already told them that I had something I wanted to talk to them about?”

“When you talk to them, tell them that my parents invited you over for dinner tonight and that we are going over to my place when we finish at the library. We can call my mom and ask her to cover for us. After everything Isabel and I told our parents last night about the importance of us all being together for safety sake, I don’t think she’d risk blowing our cover story on the chance that your parents would ground you for lying to them. To cover for tonight, I’ll ask her to call your parents later on tonight and tell them that you, Isabel, and I all fell asleep in the family room while we were watching a movie or something like that. Since it’s summer break, and they’ll know that both of my parents are in the house and they will think that Isabel is in the same room as we are, I don’t think your parents are going to be too worried about you sleeping over. Especially since they are used to your normal summer sleep over routine anyway.”
*~*~*
Driving Maria’s Jetta, Michael followed the Jeep from as far back as he could without losing sight of it. He glanced over at Maria who had been rambling non-stop since they pulled out of the Harding’s driveway. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out how one person could hold a conversation practically by themselves for three hours straight. Okay, that was a little bit of an exaggeration, she had taken a pause in her rambling to sing along with the radio from time to time, but by this point it certainly felt like it. Not wanting to give her a reason to turn her frustration lose on him, Michael decided it was best to keep his thoughts to himself; even more so when the only thoughts on his mind were ways to shut her up.

*Perhaps a sturdy piece of duck tape across her mouth would work. Na, she’d pull it off and stick it in my hair or something equally as painful. Not if I tape her hands together though. . ., no, she’d start kicking me and we’d end up wrecking the car and then she’d be on my case till hell freezes over. !⊕#$%, if only I could just drop her off on the side of the road. Drop. . . her. . . off. . . on. . .the. . . side. . .of. . .the. . .road. It has possibilities, that’s it, I’ll pull over and. . . .*

Maria was too busying thinking out loud to notice the satisfied smirk spreading across Michael’s face. If she had, she would have known that he was planning some scheme of his own and not giving any of what she had to say a passing thought. “If only we knew where they were going.
At first I was sure they were leading us out into the desert somewhere. That is practically all we have seen for hours, other than the occasional one stop-sign towns along the way of course. But no, we are still going and going and going. I mean what is up with them. They haven’t even as much as stopped for breakfast or a potty break. You would think they would, wouldn’t you? You know as well as I do that neither of them took the time before leaving the house, so you would think that at least one of them would have needed some food and a potty break.”
Unable to take her excessive rambling for a minute longer, Michael let the words flow no longer caring about the consequences. “Maria, would you please just zip your lips shut for five minutes? You are giving me a headache the size of Mount Rushmore.”

After being quite for all of ten seconds, Maria sees a sign for the next town, Albuquerque ten miles. “Albuquerque! Please, Michael. Please, please, please! I don’t care if Max and Liz stop or not. You have to find me a bathroom and soon or I swear I’m going to have an accident right here in this car. Then I’m going to make you explain to my mother way you couldn’t pull into a gas station for all of five minutes because you were too busy tailing our best friends.”

“Give me your cell phone.” Michael ordered abrasively.”

“What? Why?”

“Do you want me to find you a restroom or not? Now shut up and give it to me already.”

In a huff, Maria pulls her cell phone out of her purse and hands it to Michael. He quickly dials Isabel’s number. “Hey, Maria needs to use the restroom. We’re going to pull off at the next exit. You guys keep following Max and well call you when we’re on our way again to make sure he hasn’t pulled off somewhere.”

“You know, Michael. Some of us in this car might need a little break as well. We have been traveling for a while now.”

“Yeah, well if you have a better plan that doesn’t involve Maria using the front seat as a toilet while not losing sight of Max and Liz, I’m willing to hear it.”

“Doesn’t look like you are keeping a good eye on Max to me anyway. If you were, you would have noticed that he’s pulling off the highway.”
*~*~*~*~*
Max pulled off at the first Albuquerque exit they came to and headed towards the familiar golden arches, which had been visible from the highway. Pulling into the parking lot, he parked in an empty slot fairly close to the door. He quickly shutting off the engine, and rounded the Jeep to help Liz out as well. While doing so, the hair on his arms and the back of his neck stood straight up on end. He could feel someone watching him and whoever it was, he could tell they were watching him with more than just a casual interest.

Nonchalantly he began to looking around, hoping to spot his observer. Having had no luck spotting anyone or anything out of the ordinary, he tried to dismiss this feeling he was having as a simple case of paranoia. That’s when he saw it; a familiar bumper poking out from behind a van in the strip mall parking lot a few hundred yards away. *Is that Maria's car? No, it can't be...* He didn’t want to accept what he thought he was seeing. Even though he knew there was no way there were two similar cars with their bumpers dinged up and hanging on, or barely hanging on as the case maybe, in exactly the same way. Max mentally prepared himself to head over to double check and confront the car’s occupants, of which he was sure one of them would undoubtedly be Michael, when he spotted yet another all too familiar silver Bronco pulling up close-by it.

In a matter of milliseconds a plan began to brew in his mind; a simple scheme that would teach his friends a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget. Not wanting to tip his hand by letting those called friends know that he has spotted them, he quickly escorted Liz through the restaurant doors. Once inside, where they wouldn’t be as noticeable, Max pointed out the cars to Liz and briefly filled her in on his little plan before they separated to answer mother nature’s call. Once back together, they fine-tuned Max’s scheme while patiently waiting in line to place their order to go. ~*~*~*~
After using the powder room at one of the stores in the strip mall, Maria returned to Michael’s side. “While we’re waiting for Max and Liz to eat, I suggest we grab something to eat ourselves. We can go through the drive through at the Burger King just a little ways down the street and they would never be the wiser.”

“We can’t risk it! After traveling all this way I’m not risking losing them because we got stuck in some drive through and couldn’t follow them.”

“And should I ask who made you the supreme ruler?” Maria rolled her eyes and tapped her forefinger against the side of her head indicating that she had an idea. “We do have two cars here in case you have forgotten, Michael. I suggest that some of us stay here with one of the cars and keep an eye on our stray birds. The rest of us can take the other car and go pick up enough food for everyone.”

“I’m with Maria. I’m starving and we don’t have any idea how much longer we are going to be on the road. In addition I also think we should seriously think about getting the cars some additional food as well.” Kyle’s suggestion about gas was the swaying factor to get Michael to agree. He really didn’t want to risking not being there for Max and Liz if they needed him simply because they hadn’t taken the time to fill the gas tanks. This also gave him the out to put his plan to pawn Maria off on the girls into action.

“Fine! Tess, take Maria and Isabel with you and go pick us all up something to eat. Then find yourselves a gas station, fill up your gas tank, and get back here ASAP. Alex and Kyle, you two stay here with me. Do either of you, Isabel or Tess, have your cell phones with you?” They both nodded yes. “Great, I’ve got Maria’s. If by chance. . .”

“Huh guys.” Alex attempts to interrupt and get everyone’s attention, but Michael continues to talk right over him “. . . they do leave before you get back, we’ll give you a call and let you know which way we are heading so that you can catch up.”

Alex tries once again, this time he’s a little more assertive. “Guys! They’re pulling out!”

Everyone begins to scurry back to the car they’d previously been in, but Isabel quickly puts a stop to that by grabbing hold of Maria’s arm and drags her to Tess’s bronco while ordering Kyle and Alex into the Jetta. “Alex, Kyle; you two go with Michael. We’ll keep with our plan and call you to find out where you are once we’ve hit the gas station.”
~*~*~*~
“I can’t believe those guys. Can you say, ‘stick out like a sore thumb? Seriously, you would think after everything we have been though this year that they would at least know how to that they would have heard the word ‘inconspicuous’ before now.” Liz jests as she grabs hold of her aching sides in an effort to ease the pain she was feeling from laughing so hard. It was hard to believe that their friends actually believed that they hadn’t spotted them after the scene they’d been making in the parking lot by their cars. Liz was confident about one thing, if she and Max had wanted to lose their six friends instead of put her and Max’s plan into action, they wouldn’t have had any trouble doing so.

From one of the cashier inside Micky D’s(McDonald’s nickname), Max learned where the closest grocery store could be found. As Max pulled out of the parking lot and into the morning traffic, both he and Liz noticed that only one of their friend’s cars, the Jetta, was tailing them. Max and Liz exchanged questioning glances, even though they couldn’t read each other’s minds, they both knew they were thinking the same thing, “Where had the other car gone?”

Taking the fact that the number of eyes watching them had just been reduced, as a good sign, they shrugged off their curiosities as to where the other car had gone and sat about finding their next destination.

Once inside the grocery store, the gather enough food, water, and other necessities to not only meet their own needs for the next couple of days, but enough for their entire group. They wanted to teach their six friends a lesson not risk their heath because of dehydrating or something equally as preventable.

Inside the store, they also picked up a couple of those little cheap Styrofoam ice chests and some ice to keep certain item from spoiling. They packed those foods into the ice chest inside the store to prevent their friends from seeing just how much food they’d bought. After all, their plan wouldn’t work if they tipped their hand and let those following them know that they had bought more food than the two of them would need.

After finishing at the grocery store, Max proceeded straight to the nearest gas station and filled not only the Jeep’s gas tank but the gas can stored on the back of the Jeep as well. They only hoped it would be enough.

With all the items they foresaw needing gathered and loaded into the Jeep, it was time to get back on the road once again. Max headed the Jeep out of town on I-25N, while Liz watched for the many transfers they would be taking. First of which was SR-44N, soon followed by 595N, after that, it was all on instinct. They were being lead somewhere, somewhere that would allow them the privacy they were going to need for what they’d come to do. Liz was the first to see the sign which confirmed what they’d been feeling, telling them both that they had to be getting close. The sign read, “ Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation.” Max followed the service roads as deep into the reservation as he could go. When the roads could take them no further, he pulled the Jeep to the side of the road and turned to face Liz.

“It looks like it’s time to put our plan into action. First step, make them as uncomfortable as possible.”

“Lets do it.” With those three simple words, Max pulled the Jeep of the road and out into the open desert.
posted on 5-Nov-2001 8:52:51 PM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter 22B

Looking out at the rough desert terrain that the Jeep headed out into, Michael pulled the Jetta to the side of the service road and quickly put it into park. “Looks like this is as far as this car is going. Let’s hope Tess’s bronco can handle it better than Maria’s car would, otherwise this whole trip has been all for nothing.”

Climbing out of the Jetta as quickly as possible, Michael, Alex, and Kyle squeezed into the Bronco with the girls. Kyle made the mistake of sitting behind Michael and Maria who were sharing the front passenger seat. To make more room for himself and Maria, Michael pushed their seat back to the point it was seriously cutting in on Kyle’s leg room. “Augh, I thought these things were supposed to be considered spacious.”

“Don’t even think about starting down that road again ‘mister.’ Instead I’d advise you to sit back, enjoy the ride, and be grateful that ‘you’ have a ride; because as I recall, you wanted to bring your convertible and made a big fuss about it. Oh let me guess, you are now going to try and convince me that your car would be more spacious and could handle off road traveling as good as mine can?” For the first hour of their trip out of Roswell, Kyle tried to convince Tess, Isabel, and Alex that his car would have been the better selection for this trip. Of course they’d all disagreed with him, but that didn’t stop him from trying all the same.

“She’s won this argument and you know it buddy. If we’d brought your car, we’d all be stuck back there where we left Maria’s car.” Alex didn’t even bother trying to hid the smirk on his face when Kyle turned to him with fury in his eyes.

Maria, wanting to change the subject and brake up the growing tension within the group asked, “Does anyone remember the name of that road; the one we left my mother’s car on?” Her question was innocent enough, unfortunately Michael, who has had a huge chip on his shoulder all morning, didn’t take it that way.

“What? Do you think we are idiots or something? Of course I remember what road I left it on. I’m not going to just leave your mother’s car out here when we leave.”

“Excuse me? What crawled up you butt and died? I only wanted to make sure someone caught the name of the dang road. It’s not like I accused you of abandoning my car permanently for pity sake. If you didn’t notice, we passed and changed so many service roads that it was practically a maze and I for one don’t want to have to travel everyone one of them before finally finding my car again. We’d have better luck finding a needle in a haystack. Now fess up, Spaceboy. What has your panties in a bunch?”

With all the progress Michael had made in letting his wall down enough to let Maria and their friends into his life, it was still hard for him at times not to revert back to his old ways in times like these. He turned his head to the side and ignoring Maria’s query, and stared out the side window.

Michael had been and still was infuriated with Max and Liz for their reckless behavior. Going off alone, just the two of them, to follow some clue they’d gotten from another one of their visions was not only ludicrous but unfathomable as well. Here it hadn’t even been twelve hours since Max had initiated a new rule about watching each other’s backs and he was already breaking it. Michael had had it! He was sick and tired of Max making up all these rules supposedly to protect them from those who would hurt them and then turning around breaking each and every one of the rules as if they didn’t apply to him. From Michael’s prospective, it was time to put his high and mighty king, leader, and friend in his place, with his feet back on solid ground and his head out of the clouds. After all, if they had to follow these rules than so did Max whether he liked it or not. Now all Michael had to do was figure out a way to get Max to see the light.

Maria wasn’t taking Michael’s silent treatment to well. There was no way she was going to let him close himself off from her. Not now, not ever. “Michael Guerin, I asked you a question and you had better start talking before I really lose me cool!”

There was no way to ignore a crazed woman screaming in your ear no matter how hard you might try. “Did you have to yell directly in my ear? Are you intentionally trying to burst my eardrum?”

“If you would have answered me any one of the five times I tried asking you the normal way I wouldn’t have had to yell at you, now would I? Now tell me what is bugging you or I swear I’ll do it again until you do.”

Michael looked around at the rest of the passengers in the car and realized they were all looking expectantly at him. Since he hadn’t come up with a plan of his own, he figured, *What the heck. Maybe one of them can come up with something.*
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Liz looked over her shoulder yet again to make sure they hadn’t lost their friends. “Max, slow down just a bit. I think they’re having a hard time keeping up with us.”

“I don’t know Liz. Maybe we should rethink this plan of ours and hope they give up and go back home or at least back to Albuquerque.” Max was beginning to second-guess himself and this plan. The day was supposed to be about them, not their friends. The more time they took to deal with their friend’s intrusion, the less time they had to prepare for what was to happen.

“No Max. We have to do this. I know that they aren’t used to you giving them orders and with the way things are changing they have to learn that when you do, it’s for a good reason. What would happen if they didn’t follow your orders and it ended up costing lives? It’s time for them to learn that you tell them to do things for a reason and, as I see it, now is as good as time as any. Besides, we’ve already gone this far. Let’s just finish it.”
*~*~*~*
After Michael explained what he’d been thinking, he was shocked to hear that Alex, Isabel, and Tess disagreed with him. “If you three don’t see a problem here, than why did you come along?”

“To make sure you didn’t go storming in on them and cause problems. What did you think?” Isabel answered offhandedly. She’d known Michael longer than anyone there and one thing about him still remained the same. Michael was one to act first and ask questions later. The last thing she wanted to happen was Michael breaking up whatever it was Max and Liz felt was so important that they had to come all this way to do. “Michael, think about it. When have Max’s instincts ever been wrong?”

Unwilling to give Michael a chance to answer Isabel’s question and letting their conversation get side tracked from what is important here, Maria cut him off before he got one word out. “Don’t you try to answer that, Michael! We are not here taking this trip because of something that happened in the past. We are here because we all care about Max and Liz and want to make sure they are safe and that they don’t get caught off guard.” After everyone acknowledged the truthfulness of what she was saying, Maria continued. “Good. Are there any arguments about how much Max loves Liz or the fact that he wouldn’t do anything he felt would risk Liz? No? Good, that’s something else we all agree on. Lets go for one more shall we? We all want Max to realize that regardless of whether he thinks any given situation is dangerous or not, it’s always better to play it safe. Which means that we should be acting as a whole; a unit if you will?”

Again everyone agreed, and together they began to forge steps to see that this happened.
~*~*~*~*~
“Max?” Liz’s one word inquiry was all it took to receive an answer to her unspoken question. “I see him and I see it.”

“Should we stop? Or do you think we should keep going and come back later when he’s gone?”

“We stop. I know this man. So do you Liz, don’t you remember. . . ?”

Up until Max brought the Jeep to a stop, Liz had been unable to get a good look at this mystery man’s face. Once she did, it took her a moment to register where she’d seen him before. When it finally dawned on her, the time, place, and circumstance of their first meeting was as clear in her mind as if it had happened only minutes before. “He’s the same man who was there when we woke up in the desert the morning after we found the first orb.”

“Yeah. You don’t suppose that this could be one of the Seer’s Advocates do you?”

“There is only one way to find out, Max. We have to talk to him.” Liz hadn’t even registered the fact that Max had climbed out of the Jeep until he was standing next to her, offering her his hand to help her out. Her eyes had been transfixed on the figure standing to the left of the circle of stones she’d seen in her dream. There was something about him, something so tranquil, she felt like she was looking upon a holy man. As her eyes moved over his physical stature, they came to rest on the medallion he visibly wore around his neck.

“Max, his medallion. There’s no need to ask. He has to be the guy we think he is.”

Max and Liz were approaching him with such caution, Olan had to speak up, both to first set their minds at ease and secondly to speed up their progress towards him. “Max Evans, Liz Parker; My name is Olan and I have been sent to you by the Seer. I have been instructed to guide you through this next step of your journey.”

Olan, hearing and seeing another vehicle approaching from the same direction Max and Liz had arrived from, shakes his head in disbelief then placed his left hand over his medallion while closing his eyes in concentration.

Max and Liz knew what Olan had seen over their shoulders without turning around. They looked to each other hoping that their friends presence wouldn’t affect or delay what they’d come to do. When they turned back to face Olan, they watched as he took in a deep cleansing breath and slowly opened his eyes.

“I had hoped we would have more time to talk, I’m sure you have many questions for me, but unfortunately we no longer have that option. The others, the other six, have made that impossible at this time. Please, Max and Liz; I have given us some time, but not much. We must begin.”

Looking over her shoulder to where Tess’s Bronco sits parked, Liz noticed that no one was moving or making an effort to climb out of the vehicle. “What did you do to them? How have you given us some time?”

“One of my abilities is to induce sleep and right now that is what your friends are doing, sleeping. However, the longer I maintain my influence over them the more likelihood that when they wake they will become aware of the time they have lost. If at all possible, I need to avoid this. It’s best they don’t know that we talked. They would want to know why I didn’t include them and they would spend valuable time seeking me out instead of doing what they need to be doing.”

“Why did you put them to sleep? They already know that you exist, and they have just as much right to get answers to their questions as we do.” Ending his statement, Max gestured between himself and Liz. What he wanted to do was cross the distance between where they were standing and where his friends were. He wanted them to be with he and Liz finding out the answers to the question they all had at the same time.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to disagree with you about that, ‘your Highness.’ You see, you are more important than you seem to think you are and it’s not just your royal title that makes this so. You and Liz are the corner stone of your divergent four-square. You are their leader, and with Liz at your side you will lead your four-square to do things you haven’t even dreamed of yet.”

“I’m getting ahead of myself here. Lets look at this from a different prospective, shall we? If I were to allow the rest of your group to join us, what would Michael be doing right now? Be honest here, would he be demanding things of me, things that I can’t give to him; one of those things being the locations of the remaining orbs? Try to understand, I would tell you if it would help, but some things are more beneficial when you learn them for yourselves rather then to have someone tell you the answers. There are lessons which you need to learn and the only way for you to learn what you need to know is by traveling the roads your questions will take you.”

“You really don’t need me to convince you of this though, do you? You already know that what is about to happen is supposed to be between just the two of you. The others can’t be apart of this.”

TBC. . . .

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 16-Apr-2002 3:39:46 PM ]
posted on 12-Nov-2001 12:09:25 AM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter Twenty-three


A very happy man descended the steps that separated the Parker’s residence and The Crashdown Café. He had spent a very romantic evening and a physically exhausting and satisfying morning with his wife of 19 years. He’d left her sleeping soundly to prepare a special meal for her when she awoke. The only thing missing was some fresh fruit to go with it.

Knowing he’d find a variety to chose from downstairs in the restaurant fridge, he chose to slip downstairs to grab some. Before heading for the fridge, he decided to take a moment and check to make sure that everything was running smoothly in the restaurant and say good morning to his daughter.

Looking out on the floor, he didn’t see Liz as he’d expected he would. He stepped closer to the kitchen to ask Michael, who he knew was working the afternoon shift, if he knew where she was. He quickly discovered Liz wasn’t the only person missing this afternoon. “Morning Ben, I must say I’m surprised to see you here. Where’s Michael, Liz . . .” Taking a quick glance around the dinning area through the food window, he added, “. . . and Maria today? I thought they had this shift.”

“Oh hey boss, yeah they were, but Kelly is covering for Liz, and Michael called me about ten o’clock saying he’d picked up a bug and wanted to know if I’d cover his shift for him. I guess Michael must have given that same bug to Maria, because Laura came in for her.”

In truth, Alex had been the one who had called him, and in passing he mentioned that he and his group of friends had gone on a spur of the moment road trip early that morning and had got hung up and wouldn’t be back in time. He’d asked Ben not to mention their trip to the Parkers or anyone else because they left without getting permission and didn’t want to end up being grounded all summer. Since it had been Alex who had referred him to the Parkers for the position as cook, Ben decided what they hey, he owed his friend one.

“All three of them called and got someone else to cover for them?” Jeff asked not really expecting an answer as he watched Ben trying to get out the orders. He had a really bad feeling that something funny was going on here. If it had just been Liz and Maria, he would have chalked it up to them staying up too late and being too tired; but Michael too? That didn’t add up; at least not to something that was to his liking. “Okay, thanks.”

With the fresh fruit he’d come downstairs to get long forgotten, Jeff headed back upstairs to make some phone calls. He wanted to find out if the Evans boy was included amongst the missing. He also planned to do some checking on the rest of his Lizzy’s group of friends.
~*~*~*~*~
Troubled by the length of time he’d spent answering Max and Liz’s questions, Olan felt obligated to point out their time restraint once again. “I know you still have questions and truly I wish we had time to go over them, but we really don’t have that luxury.”

“Will we get another chance to ask you our questions?” Liz asked, her whole countenance radiating how much she wanted to hear him answer ‘yes.’

“I would like that, only I can’t say for sure. If the Seer has need for our meeting again than we will. If not. . . .”

“Than we won’t.” Liz finished for him with a faint smile. For a reason she couldn’t explain, she was sure they would meet this mysterious and seemingly genital soul again.

“Right. I hope you understand that my purpose here on Earth has never been for the purpose of answering your questions, to be your guide, or tell you of the things your future holds in store for you. My main purpose, my sole purpose, has always been to protect the orbs. I will continue to keep the orbs you still have yet to find safe until you’ve unraveled the secret of their locations and learned the lessons you need to learn while doing so. My being here today was purely out of necessity. To save time, the Seer chose to have me guide you through this step in your lives rather than to reveal the process through your connection to the orbs. Heed this warning, your enemies are in Roswell as you have discovered. Be very careful not to give them any clues that will lead them to discover the identities of the royal four. Eating Tabasco sauce in public is one of those things that could easily clue them to whom they are looking for.”

Motioning to the circle, Olan cut to the quick of the matter. “Shall we? First, you must place one of the orbs in the center of the circle.”

Max was staring blankly at the circle, lost in his own thoughts about what was happening as well as what he would need to pass onto the others later. It wasn’t until Liz called his name that he realized that he’d missed something. “Huh?”

“You did bring two of the orbs with you, didn’t you?” Olan’s voice cracked slightly as his voice revealed his concern that may not have.

“Um, yeah. The orbs. I’ll get them.”

While Max returned to the jeep for the orbs, Olan continued to give Liz instructions. “Take a few steps into the circle and sit down, Liz.” She did so without question. This was why she and Max made this trip. “Together, you and Max will need to hold the second orb.”

Returning from the Jeep, Max proceeded directly to the most centric part of the circle and placed one orb on the ground as Olan had instructed him to do. Max then took a seat beside Liz on the hard desert ground and tried to make himself as comfortable as possible. Liz placed her hands on the orb still in Max’s outreached hand as she asked, “What should we expect to happen? What does the orb do?”

“The orb is but an instrument. Its purpose varies depending upon the user’s intent. The intent is relayed to the orb by the emotions directed to it. Emotions such as curiosity, anger, fear, love, despair, and desire are some of the many emotions that trigger noticeable reactions. You must be cautious of the emotions you let flow through you and into the orb because it has the ability to intensify and even stimulate more of these same emotions and feed upon the power created through them.”

“We guessed that the orbs had a great deal to do with what Max and I have been going through. What I don’t understand is how the orbs are able to stimulate emotions within us if we aren’t touching them?”

“The Seer.” Olan stated simply as if these two words answered everything. However, he didn’t leave it at that after witnessing the puzzled expressions passed between this young couple. “She is connected to the orbs, or should I say they are linked to her? It’s not something I can truly explain. Even as one of her advocates, I don’t know all of her secrets.”

“Her gift, the one that enables her to see in the future, do you know how it works?”

Olan was growing frustrated. He knew that Max and Liz would have lots of questions, but they didn’t seem to be taking their time restraint seriously. If he could just get things underway, the Seer would be able to answer their questions more accurately. “The basics, yes, but anything beyond that, no. It would be to your advantage to let her explain these things to you. We must get started.”

“I don’t under. . . .”

“Liz!” Olan’s voice rang with urgency, as his eyes pleaded for her understanding. The last thing he wanted to do was upset his king and future queen, especially within the first hour of introducing himself to them. “I know you have questions, but please, now really isn’t the time.”

Confident that their attention was focused where he needed it to be, Olan began to speak in a calming, rhythmic, almost hypnotic tone. “You must first clear you mind of all concerns and questions while concentrating on the emotions stirred within you during your latest vision from the orbs. It is those emotions, that need to be joined as one, that will open the link between you, the orb, and the Seer. Concentrate on your need to be one.”

While Olan’s voice resonated through Max’s mind, he couldn’t resist the impulses to leisurely stroke his thumb over the back of Liz’s hand followed by leaning into brush his lips tenderly against hers. Before the kiss had a chance to deepen, Max pulled back slightly, resting his forehead against hers. Keeping his voice low, barely above a whisper so that only Liz could hear his heartfelt words, Max sought confirmation of Liz’s readiness for the step they were about to embark on. “I love you Liz. More than life it’s self, but before we do this. . ., I need to make sure that this is something you really want to. . .”

The way Liz’s body was left humming from the initial kiss, she didn’t dare risk another. Leaning back, increasing the distance between herself and Max by only a few inches, she pressed the tip of her finger against his lips to silence him. “Shh. I wouldn’t be here if this wasn’t what I wanted, Max. I love you, completely and totally.”

“I’m not doubting or question your love for me, Liz. That isn’t what I was asking. I want you to know I would understand if you aren’t ready for this. We are still very young. We aren’t even out of high school yet, and we have plenty of time. I’m just saying, we don’t know where this is going to lead or how my parents and how your parents are going to react? This is a big step, Liz.”

“Are you saying you don’t want to . . . ?”

“No, NO! That’s not what I’m saying at all. I just want to make sure you are ready for this, because once we do this, there is no turning back.”

Liz can’t help smiling, Max is being just too cute. “Max, there is no turning back. Don’t you understand? From the moment you let me see into your soul, there has been no turning back. Set backs, sure, but everything we have been through has been leading to this moment. I don’t want to wait any longer to know what it is like to be able to feel you with me at all times, in all places. I want this Max. I really want this with you.”

“You don’t know how happy I am to hear you say that. If you had said you wanted to wait I don’t know what I would have done. Especially after that little teaser those flashes gave us last night. If they are even a fraction of what this is really going to be like, what we are going to share after today. I don’t think I could stand not having you with me like that.” Wanting to make this more official, he shifted from his sitting position to kneel before her, and whispered, “Elizabeth Ann Parker, will you do me the honor of becoming my wife, my queen? Will you marry me?”

To say that Liz was a little stunned to hear Max asking her in such a formal manner at this stage in their young lives would have been an understatement. Irrevocably, in her heart, she knew by answering ‘yes’ to going through with orb ceremony this was what she had just agreed to. However, hearing it loud, hearing him refer to her as ‘his queen’ made her realize not only was she becoming his wife, but his queen as well, the queen of his people.

As he’d pointed out just seconds before, they were both still very young, they hadn’t even started their senior year yet. She couldn’t help wondering if she was really ready to take on the responsibility of being wife, let alone a queen? Granted, as long as they lived on Earth she didn’t really have to worry so much about that, but she didn’t have any real clue what those responsibilities would be when the time came. Even with her many concerns, questions, and the uncertainty that surrounded them, there was only one answer she could give. It didn’t matter whether she gave it today, tomorrow, or in twenty years, the answer would always be the same. Filled with excitement, she blurted out, “YES!”

Quickly clearing her throat and reining in her composure, or lack thereof, she made one attempt to answer his proposal with as much sincerity and grace as he’d used while asking his monumental question. “What I meant to say is, Maxwell Phillip Evans, I would love to be your wife, to have you as my husband through eternity and beyond.”

The mere breaths of space between their lips vanished rapidly as they melded together in a scorching kiss. The orb, even though forgotten by both, had remained within one of each other’s hands. Being reminded of its presence as it almost slipped free from his hand, Max grasped hold of it tighter while he wrapped his left arm tightly around Liz’s waist pulling her firmly against him from chest to bended knees. Every cell in his strong masculine body felt weak from the intense spike of desire he felt to join his body and soul with his Liz. His desperate need to be one with his love had spread through him at a pace equivalent to flames spreading across a trail of gunpowder or gasoline.

Its end result would have been equally as explosive if not for the burst of blinding whiteness that enveloped them. They’d been so shocked, they tore their lips from each other and then gasped in unison as the light pulsed once again, temporarily blinding them.

Liz clung tightly to Max while her eyes slowly adjusted to their new surroundings. Doing so with both hands, she quickly became aware that they no long had possession of the orb, nor were they dressed in the clothes they’d been wearing milliseconds before. Instead of the jeans and T-shirts they’d been wearing, they were now dressed completely in white. Liz in a simple, yet very modest, free flowing white gown and Max in a pair of loose-fitting pants, long sleeve shirt, and tie. Before she had a chance to mention these changes to Max, he was drawing her attention elsewhere. “Liz, look. Do you think . . . ?”

Across the room, watching them, stood an elderly woman with the brightest green eyes Liz had ever seen. No doubt their color was heightened by the fact that both the dress she wore, and her hair were alabaster white. Looking for any clue, any assurance that this was indeed the woman they’d been hearing about from Nesado and Olan, Liz’s eyes roamed over her from head to toe.

She was wearing her hair up in a loose bun, with a few strands hanging loose softly framing her face. In a passing thought, Liz pondered the age of this woman. She wondered if she was as old as they’d been led to believe the Seer to be. If so, then the years had surely been kind to her, as she looked to be about the same age as her grandma Claudia had been at her untimely death.

With the exception of her hands, she was covered completely from her shoulders to her toes in a finely detailed alabaster white dress. Not willing to move any closer just yet, Liz leaned forward slightly to reduce the strain on her eyes as she struggled to make out the detailing along the bodice, seams, and hem of the woman’s dress. Liz was positive that what she was seeing were symbols much like those they’d seen in the Antarian book Tess had retrieved from the library as well as those they’d seen on the cave walls at the reservation.

Looking back to the woman’s face, Liz saw kindness and understanding radiating, accompanied with an air of mysterious mystical presence that left little doubt in her mind that indeed this was the person that they were meant to find. In answer to Max’s question, she answered, “The Seer . . .”

Having heard their conclusion, the woman smiled lovingly as she reached out her seemingly fragile hand to Liz and Max, with welcome and embrace. “Come children, this is a blessed day. One I have waited for, for such a long time. Let us not waste a moment of this precious time.”
*****
The satisfactory gleam which took residency in Olan’s eyes as Max and Liz activated the orb held tightly within their grasp, told of his assurance and excitement that all was happening as it should. The time had arrived at last for his king to officially claim as well as proclaim Liz as his queen. If the powerful burst of energy that surged forth from the orb within their hands to the second orb was a sign of the power they possess when together, than there was good reason to be confident that they would succeed in their endeavors. Together they would successfully lead the way to a better and brighter future for those living within their native solar system.

After witnessing the increased intensity and strength of the blast released from the second orb after it absorbed the blast from the first, Olan couldn’t help feeling pride in Max and Liz’s accomplishment as he looked upon their mortal frames. Feeling pride in someone else’s accomplishments was something unknown to him before coming to this world. Those he watched over from a distance were the only ones ever able to stir this emotion within him. Over the past decade he’d often likened it to that of the feelings he presumed a father must feel while he watches his child accomplish something for the first time. On this day, he thought of a small child taking their first steps, for that in reality was what Max and Liz had indeed just done. They’d taken their first steps in learning how powerful their emotions could be when combination with the orbs special properties.

Preparing for his timely departure, he walked some fifty paces and raised his hand causing a flurry of sand to dissipate, thus revealing a tarp covered, well-used sand buggy. After quickly folding up the tarp and shoving it into a holding bin, he stepped around to the passenger side and produced a torch. With haste, he returned to the outer realm of the circle and shoved the staff into the ground. With night fall still quite a few hours off, he chose not to light it, knowing the others would see to it when the time came.

With his task complete, he spurred back to his desert transportation and put a safe distance between himself and the others. He remained close enough such that he would be able to observe the events that would soon transpire as well as notice any undesirable visitors. Once in position, he clasped his medallion in his hand, closed his eyes in concentration, and released the others from the sleep without further ado.

TBC . . . .

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 5-May-2002 11:51:44 PM ]
posted on 12-Nov-2001 9:54:04 AM by Mary N OO8
This is a shameless bump! It slipped so quickly to the third page, I was sure many of you wouldn't have seen it.
posted on 4-Dec-2001 6:57:51 AM by Mary N OO8
Aurthors note: I hadn't realized that I had forgotten to post this chapter on the new board. It went up on the old board about a week ago.

I'd like to take a quick moment and answer someone's, I can't remember who's, question about the tabasco sauce.

It isn’t that Max and the other use the stuff per say, many people do. That’s way it’s made and why restaurants keep it in stock. The key here is, how many people do you see pouring tabasco in their drinks like Michael did in the pilot, pour it over their favorite deserts, or use a whole bottle at a setting. It won’t hurt for them to use tabasco in public as long as they do it in moderation.

A good example of this is how Maria picked up on the other aliens that have come to town even before they knew to watch out for them. If those two hadn’t used so much salt, she wouldn’t have given them a second thought.

Chosen Avenues
Chapter Twenty-four


“Where did he go?” Michael asked as soon as his eyes snapped open and he no longer saw the stranger Max and Liz had approached when they climbed out of the Jeep.

“Who, Max? He’s right there in the cent . . .” Michael cut Isabel off in a rush. Witnessing his two friends approach a total stranger in the middle of the desert had him panicking, more so now that said man had seemingly just vanished into thin air. “No, not Max! The man that was standing there just a second ago.”

“What man? I didn’t see any man, just Max and Liz.” Alex questioned as he climbed out of the Bronco. He hadn’t seen anyone himself, but wasn’t going to dismiss the possibility that Michael had. This was Max and Liz they were talking about. If anything happened to the two of them . . ., Alex pushed that thought aside, not wanting to think about that possibility.

The others followed Alex’s lead, and climbed out of the Bronco as well. While doing so, Kyle added, “No, I saw him too. He was there and then in the blink of an eye he wasn’t. Do you think he’s still really there, but that he is using some kind of mind-warp on us to keep us from seeing him?”

“If he is, then I’d say he is making me see something else that seems impossible as well. Look at Max and Liz. Weren’t they just standing next to Jeep? How did they get into that circle so quickly, let alone have time to fall asleep?” Maria pointed in the direction they were all heading.

*It’s not possible. There is no way it took us forty-five minutes to climb out of the car and walk four feet.* Alex was thinking to himself as he looked at the watch on his wrist. He’d checked the time, at most, fifteen minutes ago, at least he thought it was only fifteen minutes ago, but at that time it had read fifteen ‘til four, his watch now read four-thirteen.

“Hey guys, either my watch is really, really fast, or it took us close to forty minutes from the time Max and Liz got out of the Jeep for us to get out of Tess’s car.”

“What are you talking about, Alex? That’s not possible. It couldn’t have taken us more than two or three minutes tops.” Voiced Isabel calmly as she raised Alex’s wrist so that she to could get a look at his watch to see if she could figure out what he was going on about.

“Your right, it wouldn’t have, it couldn’t have.” Knowing he really wasn’t making what he was trying to tell them clear, he decided to explain it in more simple terms. “Look folks, let me break this down for you. When we were in the car, just before we noticed Max’s Jeep was stopped up ahead, I checked my watch for the time. It said that it was roughly a quarter till four. Then just now, after climbing out of Tess’s car. . . I can’t explain way, but I checked my watch again and this time it said . . . ”

“Four-thirty.” Isabel said at the same time Alex did. Quickly doing the math, her expression changed from her initial reaction, which was shock, to one of concern and fear. “Alex, that means we don’t know what has been happening to us . . . , oh my stars, we don’t know what that guy Michael and Kyle saw may have been doing to Liz and Max for nearly an hour!” Everyone’s eyes snapped from Alex and Isabel back to the motionless forms of Max and Liz laying slumped against each other off in the distance. Instantaneously they all took off in a mad dash to get to their friends.

Kyle, being the only one in the group who runs on a regular basis, was the first one to approach their destination. If only he’d thought to slow his pace before he ran head-on into an invisible energy field which sent him flying backwards twenty feet or so.

“WOW! What the heck was that?” Cried out Alex as he rushed to Kyle’s side.
~*~*~*~*~
Liz clung to Max’s hand, allowing him to lead her in the direction the elderly woman had indicated. They passed through a set of double doors into a room she could easily imagine as a room created for the gods. The room had a spacious circular shape with eight tall slender clear crystal floor lamps placed at equal increments around the walls and large clear crystal chandelier hanging from the high ceiling. The lamps were completely lit up from the base to top rim, like one elegantly shaped giant lightbulb, each of which gave off a soft glow.

The lily-white walls were adorned with rich emerald green trimming around the edges of the ceiling. A large circular ring woven into the edging of the tightly knit carpet in the center of the room beneath the chandelier gave the room a feeling of something building, growing, and moving at a pace the viewer chooses.

Even though this room created a sense of tranquility for Liz, she couldn’t help worrying how it was affecting Max. He’d grown so still and quiet beside her that she feared the abundant amount of white in the room had stirred some of his old demons to the surface. Even though he didn’t like talking about what had happened to him at the hands of Agent Pierce in one of the base’s white rooms, it had never been a secret between them. Nor had it been a secret how he felt about rooms that used white as their primary color.

Liz was all too aware of how such rooms tended to induce his nightmares to surface. Concerned that this room, even with all of its glory, would have such an effect on him, she squeezed his hand tightly within her own and looked imploringly up at him.
~*~
The first thing Max noticed after entering the room wasn’t how white the walls were. No, what caught his eyes was a strong contrast between those walls, the elegantly designed lights, and the rich green molding entrenched along the ceiling’s edge. Combined, they created a spiritual ambiance; a sense of peace to the likes Max had never known.

While absorbing the full effect of the room, his gaze continued to return to the molding and familiar symbols engraved upon it time and time again. There was no doubt where he recognized the symbols from, but he couldn’t seem to put his finger on why this particular pattern, which repeated its self over and over again around the room, seemed like one he should know. It was almost as if it had been etched into his subconscious memories.

Glancing down at Liz, who stood beside him, he could tell from the expression on her face that she was as much in awe by the scene that surrounded them as he was. Looking up once more, he felt her hand tighten around his own and imploringly returned his gaze to her once more. The worried expression that had appeared on her face in those brief moments when he’d looked away caused him to search the room for some sign of what had changed her mood. Finding none, he returned her squeeze and asked, “Liz, what’s wrong?
~*~*~*~*~
“Okay, so lets sum up what we know.” Maria said as she paced back and forth between the Jeep where Isabel and Alex were sitting and the edge of the circle, which marked the energy field they hadn’t been able to penetrate. “We can tell that Max and Liz are both still breathing and that they appear to be physically fine, merely sleeping or in some kind of trance. These stupid rocks creating this circle are creating or marking the outline of some kind of force field. Michael and Kyle’s mystery guy disappeared without a trace while we were taking some kind of presumable alien induced siesta. He has to have been either a figment of their imagination or an alien because he didn’t leave so much as a footprint behind. Am I leaving anything out here?”

“Nope, nothing.” Michael answered in a dejected voice as he completed another trip around the impenetrable circle that housed Max and Liz’s placid bodies. He’d tried everything he could think of to get inside the circle, but nothing had worked. Even his energy blast was a waste of time and effort. Each time he shot a blast at the perimeter it bounced right back at him. After being hit by a couple of returned blasts, he realized all he was accomplishing was causing himself a significant amount of pain and draining his energy.

Unable to sit still due to all of the high level of pent up frustration flowing through his veins, Michael continued walking a path around the circle. He couldn’t stand the feeling of helplessness that loomed over him. There had to be something he could do, he just had to figure out what it was.

Isabel had been leaning back against Alex’s chest enjoying some much-needed solace within his warm embrace. While there, the fears she’d had for her brother’s and Liz’s safety had been receding to the back of her mind as she sat watching their still forms in the distance. There was something pulling at her mind, something familiar about what she was seeing. It wasn’t something she’d seen; it was something Max and Liz had mentioned.

She smiled reassuringly over her shoulder at Alex to let him know that she was doing fine before slipping from her seat and crossing the distance to the edge of the circle. Taking a squatting position as close to Max and Liz as she could get, she started looking for the proof she needed.

Alex followed her lead, and stood beside her, “What are you thinking?”

A smile broke out across her face as she stood up and declared, “I know what’s going on!” Before Isabel had a chance to explain what she thought was happening, her words were halted by the sound of Max mumbling something that sound like, “Liz, what’s wrong?

TBC. . . . Sorry about the delay in getting out a new chapter, I've been sick and it's made concentrating my writing very difficult. I’ll try harder.

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 17-Apr-2002 11:19:04 PM ]
posted on 13-Dec-2001 8:03:57 PM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues

From chapter 24

Glancing down at Liz, who stood beside him, he could tell from the expression on her face that she was as much in awe by the scene that surrounded them as he was. Looking up once more, he felt her hand tighten around his own and imploringly returned his gaze to her once more. The worried expression that had appeared on her face in those brief moments when he’d looked away caused him to search the room for some sign of what had changed her mood. Finding none, he returned her squeeze and asked, “Liz, what’s wrong?”

Chapter Twenty-five
~*~*~*~
The concern Liz heard in Max’s voice alerted her to the fact that his thoughts and mood had suddenly shifted to one of concern for her. She couldn’t help feeling guilty for pulling him from his obvious amazement of their surroundings to a place where he was now having to worry about what was bothering her. Hoping to correct the situation, she squeezed his hand and in a calm reassuring voice answered, “Nothing’s wrong, Max. I was just being silly.”

The way Max continued to watch her closely told Liz that he wasn’t convinced. The longer he scrutinized her every move quickly made her very uneasy. Hoping to ease the gnawing feeling that was growing in her stomach, she tried to ease herself from his grip and put some space between them.

There was no denying what he’d seen in Liz’s eyes. Something was bothering her. He continued to watch her closely, trying to determine if this was one of those times he should push for answers and make her talk about what was bothering her, or let it go until she was ready to come to him with it. His question was answered by the way she was trying to pull away from him. From his experiences, he’d learned if it was something that was going to put a wedge between them, then the sooner they talked about it the better.

“Liz, don’t do this. Don’t pull away from me. I need you to talk to me.” The way she was chewing on her bottom lip and looking everywhere and anywhere except at him, made it was obvious that she was very nervous at the prospect of taking to him about what was bothering her. Wanting to calm her and reassure her that everything would be okay regardless of what she had to say, Max gently squeezed her left hand within his right hand while placing his other hand on her shoulder and turning her to face him. When she still refused to meet his gaze, he gently cupped the side of her face and lifted her chin skyward until she had no choice but to look at him.

In the brief seconds it had taken to turn her to face him and force her to make eye contact, Max quickly replayed all the previous doubts and concern he himself had worked through that morning during their long drive. With each uncertainty that had crossed his mind, he’d found a way to either settle it in his own mind or dismiss its importance against the alternative. That alternative, which he found totally unacceptable, would be to deny himself and Liz the opportunity to share something so profound and special that in his eyes it was worth any temporary discomfort or embarrassment.

Never once, as he sifted through the various possibilities of what could be bothering Liz, did he ever question her love for him. There wasn’t a need to because he’d felt and witnessed evidence of the depth of her love time and time again. In his mind and in his heart, Max knew that as long as they didn’t keep any secrets from each other, their love was strong enough to see them through the challenges that life threw their way.

Out of all of the possibilities he’d quickly scanned through, there were only two that he couldn’t easily dismiss. The first of these was that once it was done, once they were married according to the customs of his people, there would be no turning back. Although the idea scared him it thrilled him even more, yet he could easily see how the reverse could be true for Liz. After all, as he saw it, she was the one who was making the true sacrifices in this situation.

By marrying him, not only was she accepting him with all of the problems and secrets that came along with who and what he was, but she was accepting the fact that one day they would have to leave Earth to travel an unknown distance to a world they knew nothing about. Once there, she would be expected to play a huge role in leading his people to a better way of life. If he truly had a choice in the matter, even he would be thinking twice about accepting that kind of responsibility.

The other possibility, the one that even made him feel as nervous as a kindergartner going off for the first day of school; the one that refused to dissipate regardless of how many times he told himself that it wasn’t a big deal, was also the one that he had no answers to. It was the ceremony itself, and if any, the after effects to them as individuals as well as a couple. If only he; correction, if only they weren’t in the dark about how his people were able to share and achieve the kind of unity and completion that they’d both felt a longing for during and after the vision, then maybe it wouldn’t be so scary. Feeling the sudden knots take hold in his stomach, he could only imagine the knots that must be building up in Liz’s stomach as well. If he were to judge by the expression on Liz’s beautiful face, he’d have to say her stomach was full of fluttering wings.

With her now facing him head on, he could see that there was more worry in her expression than simple nervousness and uncertainty would cause. This in turn it made him worry all the more about what was going on inside of her beautiful and very scientific mind. Whatever it was, he was determined to get her to open up to him before this went any further. Gripping her hand a little firmer within his own in order to prevent her from pulling away, Max pleaded with Liz once more to open up to him and not keep what was bothering her a secret between them. “Liz, whatever you’re thinking, we need to talk about it. Please love, silly or not, I want to hear what you were thinking about.”

Knowing she had to tell Max something, Liz struggled to decide if she should tell him the truth and risk reminding him of the most horrific time in his life, or lie to him at a time when he was pleading with her to open up to him. In the end, there was only one choice. “I. . ., I um . . . ,” She sighed heavily while trying to gather up the courage she was going to need to do this. “I was thinking about how beautiful everything is here, how pristine and white the walls are.”

No longer able to keep her tears at bay, they slowly began to trickle down her checks one by one. The grief and inner turmoil she suffered as she thought about where this conversation was going and how much pain it would bring to Max was quickly closing in on her. However, there was no turning back, no stopping her thoughts from pouring forth. She had to tell him the truth regardless of the pain her words caused. “Then, before I could stop myself . . . , I was thinking about how awful it was for you in that white room at Eagle Rock. Suddenly I realized that since my thoughts had taken me down that road, recalling and think about those horrible memories; within seconds I began to worry that your thoughts might have shifted there too. I felt this sudden sense of panic at the thought of you thinking about the same thing.”

Max couldn’t believe how far off base he’d been when it came to what Liz been thinking about. Despite the worried expression on her face and the tears that were falling blatantly on her cheeks, he couldn’t hide the smile that registered across every feature of his face as his heart soared. His sweet wonderful Liz hadn’t been having second thoughts; she’d been worrying about him.

Max didn’t see any point in denying that he still suffered nightmares in which he relived the bloodcurdling experiences Pierce had subjected him to. The only thing important at that moment was assuring Liz that he was fine and that he was dealing with what had happened and not running from it. Leaning forward, he first kissed her tears away and then proceeded to pull her into a tight embrace as he whispered, “You are amazing, do you know that? Would you please explain to me why and how someone like me would be so blessed to have someone like you as the center of his life? Here you are. You have every reason to be scared. We’re about to take this giant step into the unknown and be the central figures in a ceremony that we know absolutely nothing about. Incredibly, instead of worrying about that, you are worrying about me. I still can’t believe the way you put everyone else’s problems before your own. At the risk of repeating myself, I find you and your kind hearted ways to be amazing.”

Max couldn’t believe the pair they make. To keep from laughing, he dropped his head forward shaking it from side to side. After calming himself, he stared intently into his soul mate’s eyes and with heart felt emotion whispered, “Thank you, Liz. Thank you for loving and caring enough about me to worry, but sweetheart I assure you, you don’t have to worry about this subject anymore. I’m perfectly fine.”

He could easily read the doubt in her expression. He’d even expected it. Despite the level of discomfort this topic still managed to stir within him, Max knew deep down that if he wanted Liz to continue to be open with him, to share her thoughts and concerns, then he had to be willing to do the same with her. Placing a finger over her soft pink lips to halt the questions he was sure were accumulating in her head he continued to explain. “What happened back then, jeez, after everything we’ve been through since then, that seems like such a long time ago and yet, I remember it like it happened just yesterday.”

Okay, that didn’t come out like he’d intended it to. He nervously ran his fingers through his hair before making another attempt to explain how he was dealing with what had happened. “Liz, that day . . . , when we were hiding in the van and you saw some of the things I went through; that was the day I began to heal. At first the idea of you knowing what I went through . . . , it didn’t seem right. I didn’t want you to know, to feel that kind of pain. But then later I realized it was a good thing.”

“I know in a way it sounds really selfish and even a little strange for me to say that I’m glad you saw and felt what I went through; but you see, because you knew the truth, I didn’t have to carry the secret or burden of what happened around alone. I felt that if it ever became too much for me, I could turn to you and you would always be there, just as you were there for me when you first saw it all. And then there is the benefit of my not having to explain what had happened. You already knew and I was sure that you would understand where I was coming from. It’s like two people who survive some great tragedy together. They are closer to each other because they both went through it.”

“Then, when Peirce died, I was able to take it one step further because I knew that he would never have another chance to harm me, you, or anyone else that I love. With him gone, I vowed never to let the memories he’d left me with dictate who I am and how I live out the various facets of my life. You see; I realized that by giving into the fear Pierce stirred within me, by letting it control my thoughts and actions, I would be allowing him to win. And I for one refuse to ever let him win.”

While Max had been talking, he’d seen various emotions flashing across Liz’s face and he could only guess what questions must have accompanied them. This next thought, he was sure, was going to shock her even more.

“In a twisted and yes a very painful way, Pierce ended up doing me a favor. Believe me I know how weird that sounds, but let me finish. Everything I went through that day, it all helped to open my eyes. It showed me that when we work together, all eight of us, we can over come the odds. I realized that time isn’t something you take for granted, because no one can tell you how long you really have. With the way our lives have been lately, I think it’s safe to say that we can always expect the unexpected to happen and when it does, it’s best to be prepared.”

“As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing he inadvertently taught me . . . ,” Max’s throat was tight with emotions making it harder for him to express his thoughts. “When Pierce was playing his mind tricks on me . . . , and he made it appear that something had happened to you, he made me realize how empty my life would be without you in it. Liz, I’ve always known I wanted you to be a part of my life. Even before I thought it was possible I hoped that one day you would allow me to be a part of yours.”

“When Michael and the Sheriff dragged me out of that place and I realized that you really were okay, that you were alive and well, I swore to myself that I would never waste one precious minute we could have together. It had taken the thought of losing you, realizing how real losing you could be, to make me see how empty and miserable my life would be without you. As much as I love Isabel, Michael, and have grown to care for and even love Tess and the others, it’s you that makes my life worth living. The one who makes everything I have, everything we have gone through worth it for me.”

Unable to hold back any longer, Liz wrapped her arms around Max’s waist and pressed herself as tightly against him as is humanly possible. “Oh Max, I love you so much. I feel the same way. My life would be so empty without you in it. I was so scared for you, and when I saw everything that happened, I don’t think I could have been as strong as you were. I don’t know that I could have . . . ”

Placing his hands firmly against her shoulders, Max stepped back so that he could look directly into Liz’s eyes. “Shhhh! Yes you could have and you would have. I know you, Liz Parker, you’re stronger then anyone I know.”

All coherent thoughts Max had were quickly evaporated and replaced with an intense surged of desire that washed over every square inch of his body. At a rapid pace, the desire to feast upon Liz’s succulent lips and soft tender flesh grew and intensified to the point of madness. Wrapping one arm around her slim waist, he pulled her firmly back up against him while seeking out any and all revealed flesh with his free hand, causing Liz’s flesh to tingle with anticipation of what was to come.

Standing by the double doors, feeling very much like an intruder, the Seer waited for any indication that Max and Liz were finished discussing whatever they were discussing in hushed voices. She really didn’t want to intrude, in fact quite the opposite. She wanted to give them all the time they needed. Well, that was until the scene before her changed. Not wanting to be placed in a voyeuristic type situation, she felt the sudden need to draw their attention away from each other and move on with their true purpose for appearing before her.

TBC . . .
posted on 14-Dec-2001 7:21:03 AM by Mary N OO8
It's good to hear that some of you are still following this story. I know it can be hard to do when there are large gaps between postings. I'm sorry about delays, I've been having a hard time staying motivated to write.

I have the part of 25b written and the rest of it worked out in my head. It's just a matter of getting it typed up. If the demand for the next part is high, I'll promise to be good and do what it takes to get it out to you in the next couple of days. It the demand is low, I can't promise when I'll get it out.
posted on 15-Apr-2002 2:15:16 PM by Mary N OO8
I know that I haven't been really working on this story. Life got busy when I started my own cake business at the beginning of the year. If you still want me to continue writing this story let me know and I'll start working on it again.
posted on 17-Apr-2002 11:44:46 PM by Mary N OO8
Thank you to everyone who is still interested in this story. I can't promise that I will get a new part out on a regular basis, but I will promise you that I will keep working on it as long as you continue to show interest.

I just made and posted some changes to the last chapter and am now going over the next chapter looking for any errors that my beta checked for me a while back. It seems I didn't take the time to post it after he'd finished with it. Sorry about that.

Here is the good news. I'll have the next part up before the night is through, so watch for it.
posted on 18-Apr-2002 12:47:37 AM by Mary N OO8
Chapter 26

Max and Liz’s passionate moment was interrupted as their attention was drawn to the two expansive doors they’d passed through as they were sealed shut with a loud thud. From that same direction, approaching with an apologetic expression, was the only person they’d seen thus far in this mystical place. She motioned for them to join her in the center of the room, while speaking words of apology in a soft whisper of reverence. “I’m sorry that I must intrude, but the time has come for us to proceed. Come. Sit with me.”

The renewed awareness of the older woman’s presence did nothing to reduce Max’s incredibly strong desire to claim Liz’s body with his own. The intense currents of passion flowing through her soft warm hand pressed against his chest and the warm puffs of air that brushed across his check with each breath she took wasn’t helping. However, the woman’s presence did effectively give him a very good reason to resist those urges.

Being so close to Max was making it hard on Liz to resist the natural pull they’d fueled between them as well. Not wanting to embarrass either herself or Max by acting on those impulses, she felt it best to put some space between them until she could regain some control over her body and bring the fire that coursed through her veins back to a tempered flame. With the opportunity to do so having presented itself with this woman’s invitation to join her, Liz attempted to free herself from Max’s embrace and move away but Max wouldn’t allow her to do so.

Despite the difficult time Max was having resisting the way Liz’s body called to him for something that couldn’t be acted upon in the presence of others, the idea of relinquishing all physical contact with her at that moment was a form of torture he didn’t think he would be able to endure. Pleading with his eyes, he begged her to understand his need to continue to touch her. He waited with baited breath for her to give him some kind of sign that she understood. It wasn’t until she smiled and nodded her head that he could breath again.

He returned a sexy smile that made her heart melt and her knees go weak as he clasped her small hand, that had been resting upon his chest, in his much larger one. For a moment she doubted that she’d made the right choice by giving in. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could resist pulling him into another heated embrace.

It wasn’t easy, but Max forced himself to focus on the many questions he wanted the Seer to answer. While doing so, he led Liz to the center of the room where they joined their hostess in the middle of the green circle that was woven in the carpet directly beneath the large chandelier. Both Max and Liz were so intent on focusing on the elderly woman before them, that they both failed to notice that as soon as they stepped inside the circle, a section of the rooms green metallic trim began to silently pulsate in sync with their rapidly pulsating hearts.

Max and Liz were both momentarily stunned when this woman, who was old enough to be their grandmother, lower herself to the floor and drew her legs up under the long skirt of her white dress, crossing them Indian style as easily as a small child. Quickly shaking it off, Max followed her lead and sat down on the ground directly across from her. He than prompted Liz to sit down as close to his side as possible without literally sitting in his lap.

Once settled, Max met their hostess’ smiling eyes and struggled to decide what he should ask her first. His whole life he had wished for someone who could answer all his questions. Granted, some of his questions had all ready been answered through the visions he’d shared with Liz, conversations with Nesado, and even some through his brief chat with Olan; but there were still so many things left unanswered. Now that he was sitting with someone who was supposed to have all the answers to his remaining questions, he couldn’t think of what he should ask first. With great relief, his dilemma was quickly solved as the woman removed his burden and began their conversation.

“Forgive my ill manners. It seems I’ve failed to introduce myself. My name is Kosha, and I’m the one you have both heard referred to as the Seer. Before we begin this last step in your Akenyas, let us take some time and answer the questions you have for me.”

*Akenyas?* Question both Max and Liz in their minds as they looked to each other after hearing this unfamiliar word.

Wanting to clarify that ‘Akenyas’ meant what she thought it did, Liz asked, “When you refer to ‘Akenyas,’ we are talking about your people’s version of a marriage ceremony, right? Because that’s the impression both Max and I got from the vision we had. That is what takes place here? Where ever here is.”

“Yes child. The Akenyas is in many ways similar to that of an Earth wedding. It too is a time when two people pledge to love and support each other each other throughout their lives. However, there are some major differences that make it much, much more than simply exchanging vows. As a species, as people, we have the ability to take our relationships to a much higher level.”

Kosha paused for a brief moment trying to determine the best way to proceed. “Never having had to explain this before, I hope you will both excuse me if this doesn’t come out right. The first thing you need to know is, even though you can feel, see, and hear everything going on around you, you aren’t here the way you may think you are. Your physical bodies are still on Earth in the desert. The part of you that is here is what you would call your spiritual form or your consciousness.”

“How is that possible?” Max asked with a perplexed expression clearly reflecting upon his face. Max could see no apparent reason why this woman would try and mislead them about something of this nature, and yet he found himself questioning how it was that he could be experiencing physical desires and pleasures associated with physical contact if he was separated from his body and Liz from hers.

“I know this must be difficult for you, indeed for the both of you, but I promise it is the truth. To save time, instead of explaining all the explicit details of how this all works, let me give you the short version. Max, in the past, you have been able to create a connection between yourself and Liz, correct? The only difference is that the orbs are my connection to you. Because of my own gifts I’m able to draw your essence to me and to this place for a short time. ”

“You’re saying that you actually draw our essence from our bodies? Isn’t that kind of dangerous? What’s happening to our bodies while our essences are here with you? I mean, how can the body exist in the absence of their souls?”

“There are dangers, your right about that; but not the kind you are thinking of. All though your body isn’t here, your spirits are still connected to them. It’s because that connect is still intact that all of your senses are still. . . operational. I hope that’s the right work, I warned you this was hard for me to explain.”

“Would undamaged or integral be the word you are looking for?” , offers Liz, feeling confident that she understands what the Seer is trying to relay.

“Perhaps. Still, let’s try this a different way, shall we? To the casual bystander, you and Max appear to be in a deep sleep. While your bodies appear to be resting, your brain waves are more than likely registering higher than is normal for those of other humans in any state, awake or asleep. All three of our brain waves are currently synchronized so that we can share. . . um. . . share the same dream is the best way I can think to describe it. The only difference is that this place and the events that happen here are as real as any you have ever or will ever experience.”

Max paused for only a moment before he replied, “I can’t say that I complete understand why all of this works, but I think I speak for both of us when a say I think we get the just of it. What I’m more concerned about right now are what these possible dangers you mentioned are.”

“I can assure you, Max, every precaution possible has been taken to insure both yours and Liz’s safety.”

“That’s not what I asked. Want kind of dangers we are talking about.”

“The only real danger stems from the possibility of your enemies locating your whereabouts before we are finished here. While your essence is here, you are oblivious to the events taking place in the vicinity of your physical form. Had you activated the orbs without using the circle of protection you would have left yourselves vulnerable to your enemies, however this was not the case. When you activated the orbs from inside the circle, the orbs automatically generate a shield. This form of shield has two significant benefits for our purposes. First, it acts as a reflector shield, or one that reflects any form of attack waged against it back at the attacker.”

“I understand we are protected from our enemies as long as the shield is up, but what about when the Akenyas is over and the shield comes down. What if our enemies are there waiting for that to happen and they catch us unprepared? Wouldn’t it have been better for us to have our friends with us? We would have a better chance of defeating our enemies together rather than trying to do it on our own.”

“Yes and no. For reasons I’ll get into here in just a minute, I couldn’t risk any of your friends being inside the circle with you when the orbs where activated.”

“Why is that? Because it seems to me they would be safer inside the circle with us rather than standing outside the protective shield.”

“Safer for them, perhaps, but that would have created the opportunity for other complications to have happened; complections that I’m positive neither of you nor any of your friends would have been too happy with in the end. This is the other danger I referred to. When the orbs are activated, everyone within the circle is affected and would have been drawn here to me. You see, without the circle it would become very difficult for me to differentiate between those who want to meet with me and those who are present to observe. Everyone within the circle, would normally get pulled through the orb they are touching, but if they are inside the circle, and not touching an orb, they would get pulled through the orb closest to their proximity.”

“Basically, the problem with even one of your friends joining you in the circle has to do with the way your essences have been, for lack of a better term you could understand, transported. You see, Max and Liz, while you traveled here, your essences merged. They both traveled through the same source of energy. Through the same orb. This is how the Akenyas begins, the merging of two souls. If even one of your friends where to be inside they circle and not touch an orb with their chosen, they would be pulled into your Akenyas. That person, or those people would have become a part of your bonding and therefore linked to the two of you for eternity.”

“I think you could see the problems that could come from such a situation. Because this had in fact happened to a young couple long before my time, the circle and shield were created to prevent it from happening again against the wishes of those involved.”

“Now, once you leave here and your bonding is complete, you will be able to stand within the circle and accompany each of the other couples one at a time through their Akenyas without any complications. This brings us to the next point. As the Kuyana and Huyana you are expected to. . . .” As soon as these titles of position left the Seer’s mouth, she realized her mistake. The questioning looks on both Max and Liz’s faces clearly revealed that neither had ever heard the terms before. “. . . ., sorry. Has . . ., Nesado explained about the four-square?”

“Only that Michael, Isabel, Tess, and my powers compliment each others and that we are supposed to work together as a unit.”

“Well. . ., I suppose that’s a start.” Trying to determine how much or how little they know she asked one more question to see if they at least knew the basics. “Has he ever talked to you about how the four-square works or the need for one with specific gifts to take a position as the leader?”

“In so many words, no. To be honest here, he really hasn’t told us all that much about the four-square and lets just say that what he has told us hasn’t always been accurate and leave it at that.” Max really didn’t want to get into a discussion about Nesado and all the problems he’s caused. The way he saw it, there was no use sitting around complaining about something they could so nothing to change. The important thing now is that Nesado seems sincere in his promise to do everything within his power to protect not only the royal four, but their chosen mates as well.

“Okay then, let’s go over the basics shall we? The first thing you need to be aware of is that within each four-square there is one key requirement necessary to make it complete, beyond the fact that it takes four people. This key is a person we refer to as Kuyana if it is a female, Huyana if it’s a male. Without this key person, or the corner stone, the four-square can’t be formed. The reason for this is that the Kuyana/Huyana has the ability to open a mental connection between themselves and others. Once this link is opened, thoughts, ideas, and instructions can be shared and exchanged among all those sharing in the connection, thus eliminating the need to verbally discuss a situation, possible solutions, or for the leader to give instruction on what each person needs to do.”

Not wanting to waist time, Kosha pressed forward, “Next, you need to know; while a four-square typically consists of two females and two males, equal numbers of both sexes isn’t a requirement. This will make it . . . .”

“Wait a second.” Liz interrupted. “If I’m understanding what you’ve said right, you’re telling us that Max is this Huyana? That without him, without his gift to connect with other people; Michael, Isabel, and Tess wouldn’t be able to form the four-square even if they had a fourth person, Nesado or Olan for example.”

Kosha’s whole face lit up as she smiled and nodded her head in the affirmative. She knew Liz would pick up on what she was saying without having to spell every little detail out to her. “You’re correct, Max is the Huyana of his four-square, Liz.”

Knowing that there is so much that these two young leaders must know before their first encounter with their enemies, she pauses from her original agenda for this conversation to point out something she’d previously overlooked that they needed to be informed of. “About Olan and Nesado. They are not viable candidates for a four-square. Within the same genic coding which enables the Macpa to change their outer appearance, there is a type of inhibitor which prevents them opening their minds to any kind of lengthy connection. This being the case, they can’t keep the connection open long enough to make the initial connection worth the energy it takes for the Huyana to establish it.”

“While this inability to functioning as part of the four-square if the situation should arise was an issues that was considered during the selection of the Royal Four’s protectors, it was seen as minor in comparison to the benefits the Macpa’s would offer. The first and foremost of these being that they are renowned for the loyalty to those they have sworn to protect. We had to be sure that whomever we sent with you would do whatever it took to keep you safe. Your importance to our people and their future dictates the importance of your survival as well as the return of the royal four and their chosen mates to Antar.”

“There were others that could have been selected to accompany you, others that would have undoubtable served you loyally, but it was believed that the Macpa’s ability to transform their outer appearance would enable them to get close enough to dissuade others from seeking you out and eliminate them if the situation were to become perilous. Among other reasons, their longer life spans were considered valuable since you would not emerge from you’re pods for many years after your arrival on Earth.”
~^~^~^~^~
Meanwhile back in Roswell . . . Jeff Parker has been a busy, busy man.

~^~^~^
In this section you’ve seen some words that you aren’t familiar with. They come from an Native American language called Minko. I thought it would be interest for you to know what each word really means.

Kosha comes from the word Koshaines which means ‘to guide someone or something.’
Akenyas (to get married)
Akntes (for someone to be blessed with something)
Kuyana (female chief)
Huyana (male chief)

TBC. . . .
posted on 18-Apr-2002 7:16:11 AM by Mary N OO8
This is a shameless bump. I wanted to make sure that people know that a new post was made. I didn't really see that happening when it had already slipped to the third page.
posted on 28-Apr-2002 11:00:25 AM by Mary N OO8
Chosen Avenues
Chapter Twenty-seven

Jeff headed upstairs and straight to the phone hanging on the kitchen wall. First he dialed Liz’s cell phone wanting to give his daughter the benefit of the doubt and hear her reason for having someone else working her shift. Receiving only a prompt to leave a message, he sighed in frustration then proceeded to dial the Harding’s number. It rang several times before an unfamiliar male voice answered the other line.

“Hello? Harding residence, Trent speaking.”

“Excuse me? Trent was it?”

“That’s right. Who’s asking?”

“This is Jeff Parker, Liz Parker’s father.” Learning that there was some guy he’d never met before staying in the same house as his daughter with no adult supervision didn’t sit well with Jeff. He wanted to know more about this guy. “I don’t mean to be rude, but who are you exactly?”

“I’m Trent Harding, Tess’s older brother.”

“Older brother? I was under the impression that Tess didn’t have any siblings, let alone an older brother.”

“Really? She’s never mentioned me huh. That’s odd! We’ve always been really close. Anyway, what can I do for you Mr. Parker?”

“I want to talk to Lizzy and I don’t seem to be able to reach her cell. Can you get her for me please?”

“Sorry. Can’t do.”

“Why is that? She did stay there last night, didn’t she?”

“Oh yeah, she stayed here all right. But you see, right now she, Tess, and Maria are still up in Tess’s room sleeping. I kind of kept them up pretty late last night telling them stories about some of the things Tess and I used to do in some of the places we’ve traveled to.”

“If you all stayed up so late, then why is it that you are already up and they aren’t?” Jeff asked suspiciously.

“I’m a college student. I’m used to those late nights studying and early morning classes. I guess old habits die hard.” Trent/Nesado paused for a moment to see if Liz’s father had anymore questions for him. When the line remained quiet for a few seconds, he added, “If that’s all Mr. Parker, I’m on my way out. I’ll leave a note for Liz telling her that you called and that you want her to call you back.”

After hanging up the phone, Jeff decided that the only way he was going to truly put his suspicions to rest about Liz, Maria, Michael, and possibly Max being up to no good was to check up on the two boys. Since it was Michael that didn’t come into work, he felt more comfortable calling him first. After all, it wouldn’t seem too suspicious for an employer to be calling up an employee to see how he’s doing, right? He figured it would fly.

Looking down the list of phone numbers he had for Liz’s friends, he quickly dialed the right number. When he got Michael’s answering machine, he didn’t know what to think. He just knew he didn’t want to think what he was thinking. *He could be really sick. Not answering the phone because he’s stuck in bed trying to sleep it off?* Jeff really tried to convince himself that this was the case, but it wasn’t working.

Looking down the phone list once again, he quickly dialed up the next number. *Dang it! Another stupid answering machine. Doesn’t anyone stay at home these days and answer their own calls?* From the machine’s message, he jotted down the Evan’s office number. Calling their law office, he finally reached a live person to talk to.

“You have reached the law offices of Phillip and Diane Evans. This is Cathy, how may I help you?”

“Yes, this is Jeff Parker and I was trying to reach either Diane or Phillip. Are either of them in?”

“I’m sorry sir. They aren’t coming into day. They’ve decided to spend some extra time with their family. If you’d like for them to get back with you when they return, I’d be glad to take a message or if you would like, I can set up an appointment for you.”

“No, that’s fine. I’ll just try and reach them at home later. You haven’t heard them mentioning anything about them taking Max and Isabel out of town on a family trip by chance?” He inquired inquisitively.

“Not that I’m aware of Mr. Parker. You should be able to reach them at home later.”

“Thank you, I’ll do that. Have a good day, Cathy.” As he hung up the phone, he mentally added, *One better than I’m having, I hope. At least I can rule out Max being with Liz. It’s obvious that he’s out somewhere with his parents.*
~^~^~^~
Trent/Nesado hung up the phone confident that he’d handled the situation with Liz’s father rather well and turned back to the two problems he couldn’t seem to get rid of to save his life, Diane and Phillip Evans.

“You’re quite the performer, you know that Trent? If I didn’t know the truth about what really happened here this morning and that not one of those girls was actually anywhere in this house, I’d have believed you.”

Returning to his seat across the table from Phillip, Trent/ Nesado replied nonchalantly, “You’d be surprised how much practice one gets at lying with over fifty years of having to do so. Especially when your life depends on it.”

“It appears so.”

After spending all morning trying to get information about what lay ahead of their children and their friend to little avail, Diane decided to try and change the mood of the room and the direction of their conversation. “What can you tell us about Max and Isabel before they came to Earth? About their parents and the planet they come from. Anything you could tell us would be appreciated.

“Since it would seem, I don’t know as much about the Royal Four as I thought I did I don’t think . . . .”

Diane interrupted him, feeling almost desperate for any information about her children. She wanted to hear something, anything to help keep her mind from worrying about where they’d gone and the dangers that they would have to face in the future. “Please, anything at all.”

Understanding her plea, Nesado conceded, figuring there was no harm in telling them about Antar. “The royals all come from a planet called Antar. It’s plush with vegetation, much like that of Earth. . .”
~^~^~^~^~
Kosha observed the young couple before her, briefly trying to discern their condition. It was hard to tell how long it would be completely lost themselves to the ways of the Akenyas. Their need for continual contact was constant, unchanging in it’s level of intensity. This being the case, she didn’t see any harm in giving them a little more background into the events that had changed their lives than she’d initially intended.

“Max, before you and the others were sent to Earth, your parents decided that protectors and teachers were to be chosen and sent with you. Among them were to be those who could teach you about your heritage, your people, and how to use the gifts you would inherit through your human DNA.. Unbeknownst to them, or to me, ‘The Creator’ had other plans for you.”

“According to the last message we received from your ship, everything was going as planned. They’d unloaded and stored your incubation pods in their predestined hiding place and were preparing to store the ship a short distance away when something went wrong and the ship crashed. All but two of your protectors died that day, the leader of the mission included. He was the only one who knew the true purpose, the complete story about why you’d been sent to Earth. Unfortunately, everything happened so fast and he never had a chance to tell the others.”

“What was the reason we were sent to Earth?”

“I’d thought you figured that out by now; to find your soul mates of course.” She watched as various expressions of puzzlement passed over the faces before her. It was funny in a way. Even with the visions that they’d seen so far, they still hadn’t completely accepted that they were predestined to be with one another. “My visions, from before you were born on Antar, showed me four who would lead our people to a new and brighter age. But in order for them to do so, they needed to first learn the ways of our world; then start a new and learn the ways of another.”

“Why waste time bothering to teach of the ways of our world when in the end none of us remember any of it?”

A warm smile spread across the old woman’s face as she answered. “You only think you don’t remember, but within you is the knowledge you will need in the future. It has always been there on the edges of your consciousness. It is what you know from your last life that has prepared you for the lives you have led in this life. It is, in part, how you knew to keep your identities a secret, even as small children. It’s also how you knew to be the leader and look out for the others. Most importantly, it’s why you recognized Liz as your soul-mate the first time that you saw her and why you knew that you had to save her, even if it meant exposing yourself and the others by doing so.”

“No! No, that’s not right.” Max mumbled to himself as he shook his head from side to side.

“Max? What’s wrong?” inquired Kosha upon seeing his reaction to what she’d just revealed.

Max’s head snapped up, and with piercing eyes full of disbelief he bellowed, “NO! I saved Liz because I love her, not because of some kind of programming. It wasn’t some memory that told me she was important. You’re wrong! It was because I love her, I’ve always loved her, I’ve always loved her.”

“I didn’t mean to imply otherwise, Max. I’m sorry if it sounded that way. It’s like I said before; you are soul mates. You’ve always been destined to find each other. Not because someone said that is was so, but because you are each other’s other halves. You two complete each other in a way that no other union could. It has nothing to do with your previous life, at least not your previous physical life. It has to do with the time before we had our physical bodies, while we dwelled with ‘The Creator’ on high.”

“What I’m trying to say is that the life you lived before, on Antar, in many ways helped to prepare you for the life you are now living. It was the knowledge that you obtained during your previous life that enabled you to do some of what you have done in this life. You may not have possessed the gift of healing as an Antarian, but your knowledge of human physiology and molecular science is what made healing Liz possible. I know your gifts have emerged as instinctive action but, when you think about it, what are instincts if not information passed down from parent to child through genetics? In your previous life you studied and learned about these things and then, through your Antarian essence, it was passed down to you. To the you, the you are today.”

Liz turned to Max with mischievous smirk on her face. “So, Prince Zan studied human physiology, huh? Was that before or after he learned he would be coming to Earth?” What she was really thinking was, *Before or after he learned about me?*

“Before, actually. Zan was always interested in other cultures and species. He spent a great deal of his free time studying anything he could get his hands on. He felt that he owed it to his people to be as learned as possible so that he could be a better king. He and the others were shown their true mates but never told anything about where they would be found. They only knew that they would find you when the time was right. They were killed a week later.”

“It’s a good thing that Prince Zan was quite the student then. If he hadn’t been. . . .” Liz stopped herself from finishing that thought. She is satisfied knowing what is, instead of dwelling on what might have happened. She turns her body to face Max more directly as she placed her small hand against the right side of his face then placed a chaste kiss on his left check. “That’s for Zan, for all that studying he did that resulted in you knowing what to do that day.” She then tenderly kisses his lips and says, “And that’s for you, for following your instincts and loving me the way that only you can. I love you, Max Evans.”

Not really wanting to move away from him, but knowing they still had more questions than answers at this point, she slowly, ever so slowly began to pull away and move back into her previous position by Max’s side. While doing so, she caressed the side of his face and slid her hand along his jaw, down his neck, and over his collar bone; only stopping her downward path when her hand come to rest upon his beating heart. Something that had started out relatively innocently had inadvertently become more. Her simple act sent waves of desire through every minuscule region of Max’s body.

Sensing the change in Max, that she was sure were mirroring her own desires, Liz willingly remained within his embrace. The simple feeling of his arms tightening around her waist drawing her firmly against him sent arousing shivers up and down her spine all the way to her fingertips and toes. Without thought as to whether it was proper or not, nor even how it might look, she straddling his legs, resting her head against his shoulder. She then and snuggled into the side of his neck where she deeply inhaled his unique masculine scent.

Sensing an increase in the emotional levels in the room, Kosha’s thoughts shifted from contemplating the direction that their conversation needed to go to the state of the couple before her. Quickly evaluating their condition, she was left with no doubt that she was rapidly running out of time. Whatever was going to be said, needed to be said quickly.

The urgency she was feeling at this stage clearly rang through in her voice, “Max, Liz, please! We must continue.”

Liz raised her head from it’s comfortable resting place and turned to face the elderly woman, thus bringing Max’s attention along with her own back to the conversation at hand. Feeling slightly embarrassed, and yet not wanting to increase the distance between herself and Max anymore than she’d be willing to cut off one of her own limbs, Liz softly tried to explain. “I’m sorry, it’s just that. . . .”

“No, no. That’s quite all right. I know more about what is going on than you do, remember. I wouldn’t interrupt if not for the fact that your time here is growing shorter.”

TBC. . .
posted on 28-Apr-2002 6:55:51 PM by Mary N OO8
I can't believe it, only one person left FB on this since this morning. I'm bumping it, because I can only assume that no one saw that it was here.
posted on 27-May-2002 11:37:21 AM by Mary N OO8
Excerpt from Chapter 26:
“Okay then, let’s go over the basics shall we? The first thing you need to be aware of is that within each four-square there is one key requirement necessary to make it complete, beyond the fact that it takes four people. This key is a person we refer to as Kuyana if it is a female, Huyana if it’s a male. Without this key person, or the corner stone, the four-square can’t be formed. The reason for this is that the Kuyana/Huyana has the ability to open a mental connection between themselves and others. Once this link is opened, thoughts, ideas, and instructions can be shared and exchanged among all those sharing in the connection, thus eliminating the need to verbally discuss a situation, possible solutions, or for the leader to give instruction on what each person needs to do.”

Not wanting to waist time, Kosha pressed forward, “Next, you need to know; while a four-square typically consists of two females and two males, equal numbers of both sexes isn’t a requirement. This will make it . . . .”

Chapter Twenty-eight

A constrained silence hung heavily in the air as six teens tarried around the invisible shield that separated them from their two friends. Each one was watching and waiting for the slightest indication, whether noise or movement, of them awakening soon.

Michael felt more helpless than he’d ever felt in his life. Everything he’d tried had been ineffective and they didn’t know anything more than when they first arrived on the scene close to three hours earlier. Hungry, thirsty, and worn out from the exposure to the hot midday sun, he’d finally given up his continual pacing and sat down somberly beside Maria.

Hearing an exaggerated huff escape from Michael as he joined her, Maria took her first good look around at all of her friends. Every one of them had a dreary disposition as they stared at the unmoving couple. Unable to stand the way they were all behaving for a moment longer, she abruptly stood to her feet and began giving orders like there was no tomorrow. “That’s enough. Alex, Isabel; go check and see what kind of food Max and Liz bought at that grocery store back in Albuquerque. Tess, you and Kyle go move your car down here and then see what you can find in it or in the Jeep to build some kind of shelter; something to provide us with some shade. And Michael, you had better get up off your bum and help me. . . . , help me do. . ., oh for crying out loud. What else is there we can do besides sit around here acting like a bunch of old fogies with nothing better to do than watch Max and Liz sleep?”

“You two could gather some of the cactus skeletons up for fire wood. We don’t know how long we’re going to be here and it tends to get pretty cold in the desert at night. Who knows, if they don’t wake up soon, we may end up stuck out here all night.” Alex offered from where he stood at the back of Max’s Jeep as he pulled the first of two Styrofoam ice chests out.

“Right. We’ll gather..., wood. Come on Michael. It will give us something to do that could actually be considered useful and it will help distract us for a while.”

~*~*~*~*~
After interrupting Max and Liz’s moment, Kosha was determined to wrap things up and complete the Akenyas properly rather than having something that should be beautiful turn into a torturous experience for the young couple.

“While what we have talked about is important, we really must get back on track, finish with what needs to be said, and complete your Akenyas. Lets go back to our discussion about the Kuyana/Huyana. There are still some very important details you need two know.” Kosha hopes that what she has to reveal won’t come as a complete surprise to Max and more importantly to Liz.

Giving Liz and Max time to think about that for a moment, she pondered the best way to guide both of them to the same conclusions by way of another path. “Have either of you given any thought to the reason why you both share a connection with the orbs or the reason why you two where specifically chosen to go through your Akenyas before the others?”

“It’s because Max is the Huyana, right?”

“Yes, that’s part of it. But there is more. Remember how I told you that either a Kuyana or a Huyana has to be present in order for the four-square to be possible. I also told you that members within the four-square are interchangeable as long as a Kuyana or Huyana is present and, that even though Olan and Nesado are not viable candidates for the four-square, that there are others who are. Well, those others that I was referring to are among your group; four to be exact. Enough to complete a second four-square.”

The surprised expressions on both Max and Liz’s faces as they met each other’s gaze clearly testified that they understood where this was leading. “That’s right. Liz, Maria, Kyle, and Alex are the other four I speak of. Once the other three couples have gone through their Akenyas with their mates, they too will have the abilities to function as a part of a four square.”

Seeing the whirring in Liz’s head through her expressions, Kosha waits patiently for the questions she knows are coming. “How is that possible. You said yourself that there had to be either a Huyana or a Kuyana for every four-square. We only have one and that is Max.”

“No Liz, there are two. You are to be the second. You are to be the Kuyana of the second four-square.”

“What? How?” Both Liz and Max asked in unison.

Max fell silent as he tightened his grip around Liz’s small frame. He couldn’t help worrying that by the time this meeting was over, Liz was going to be scared off by all the pressures and responsibilities being placed on her shoulders. While Max fell silent, lost in his own contemplation, Liz continued. “I don’t have any powers like Max and the others. How am I supposed be a part of a four-square let alone lead one?”

As interesting as Liz was finding everything they were being told up to this point, nothing that had been said affected her directly, or so she had thought. Now, after hearing that she was to act as a leader in a second four-square, it all hit her full force.

In the past she’d always been willing to offer advice and share what she knew with the others, at time even formulating plans of action, but she never really saw herself as a leader. From her point of view, she was a better advisor than she could ever be a leader. Just the thought of being responsible for her friends lives was causing her stomach to turn into one very large knot.

Kosha couldn’t help the motherly smile that passed over her lips while observing the way that Max and Liz both continually exchanged subtle caresses while seemingly totally oblivious to the fact that they were doing so. Even now, as Liz was stating her arguments about her lack of qualifications for being a member/leader of a four-square, she was lazily tracing her fingers around Max’s chest. At the same time he seemed to instinctively loosen his hold around her waist to gently stroke the full length of her upper arm. The numerous visions Kosha had received of the young king and his intended over the last seventy years or so had never truly conveyed how beautiful they would appear together. Just watching them, she could see the depths of the love they shared.

Still smiling motherly, Kosha halted Liz’s onslaught of questions abruptly by calmly stating, “Liz, my child. If you will be patent with me for a moment longer, all of the answers you seek are forthcoming.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
By time three o’clock rolled around Jeff was bouncing off the walls, driving Nancy and their employees crazy. Nancy tried several times to get him to talk about what was bothering him, but each time he told her that it was nothing for her to worry about. At three-thirty, he’d had it with the waiting game. If this Trent guy really was Tess’s bother, and if he’d left a note for Liz like he’d said he would, Jeff couldn’t understand why she hadn’t called?

“Nancy, I have to run errands. I’ll be back shortly.” Without waiting for a response, Jeff took off out the back door and jumped into his car. Even though he wasn’t worried about Liz and Max having some kind of private liaison, he still couldn’t shake the feeling that Liz was apart of something that he wasn’t going to like.

Pulling up in front of the Harding’s, Jeff was surprised to see a vehicle that looked very similar to the Evan’s parked out front on the street. Feeling confident that it couldn’t be one and the same, he dismissed the thought and made his way up to the front door. After ringing the doorbell and waiting all of one second, he impatiently began to knock hard against the door. You would honestly think he believed that by doing so, he was spurring the person on the other side into moving faster to open it just to stop the noise.

After what seemed like an eternity, the door finally swung open revealing a young man who had to be Trent. The uncanny similarities between the young man and Tess left little doubt that in his mind that the two obviously shared the same parents.

“Hello? How may I help you?” Trent/Nesado asked. He hadn’t expected Jeff Parker to show up on his doorstep pounding on his door like a mad man. Okay, maybe he did, but not until much later in the evening, after not hearing from his daughter all day. If only he’d been able to talk with Max or Liz, the whole situation could have been averted. As things turned out, he hadn’t been able to reach the two of them or any of the others, nor had they contacted him. Now here he stood preparing himself to deal with one very irate looking father without having a clue about how long he was going to have to keep him from going ballistic.

As soon as the door opened, Jeff really had to fight down the impulse to push his way past the young man who’d opened the door and run into the house to call for Liz himself. With a sharp tongue full of venom, he acknowledged the guy’s presence. “Trent Harding I presume. My name is Jeff Parker, Liz’s father. Since she obviously didn’t get my message earlier, I want to speak with her now. So if you’ll go get her, we’ll be on our way without bothering you further.”

Phillip and Diane exchanged quick glances when the heard the way that Jeff spoke to the kids protector. They’d never heard their friend talk to anyone that way he just had. His tone made it abundantly clear how truly upset he was. They’d both witnessed how successful Nesado could be at lying his way through unexpected situations, but if the anger they heard in Jeff’s voice was a clue to what he was feeling, there was no way he was going to settle for anything short of seeing his daughter.

Phillip climbed to his feet and moved to the door. He really didn’t want to join the ranks of those lying to his friend or put himself in the line of fire, but he’d promised his son on the phone earlier that he would help cover with the other parents. “Jeff? What’s going on? Is something wrong?”

Looking past the young man before him to see who was addressing him, Jeff was more than surprised to see Phillip approaching him. “Phillip? What are you doing here? I called your office earlier and your secretary said you and Diane had taken the day off to spend with your family.”

“Yes, we did. But not just with our family, but with our kids and their closest friends. With them planning on doing all of this traveling together over the summer, we wanted to spend some time get to know everyone a little better. Very recently, we realized that there is a lot we really don’t know our kids and their friends. There is so much about their lives that we really aren’t a part of. They’re all growing up so fast and before we know it, they are going to be heading off to college and wherever else their lives may take them. Diane and I don’t want to waist what little time we have left with them tied to the office. I’m sure you of all people know what I mean, being that you are a businessman yourself?”

So far so good, Phillip thought to himself. He hadn’t had to lie, just told the truth without divulging all the facts. Nothing he hadn’t had lots of practice doing over the years. Now for a little diversionary tactic “What’s this about you calling my office? Has something happened? Something I can help with?”

Jeff felt like he’d put his own foot in his mouth. What was he going to tell Phillip? “I just wanted to know if you knew where your son was, and where he slept last night?” Jeff thought to himself, “Maybe that’s exactly what he should do, but not standing in the doorway of the Harding’s home.”

Jeff turned to face Trent and asked, “May I come in? What needs to be discussed here would be better done inside than out here on your front porch.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
"Even though you may not have realized it before, Liz, you do have powers. You have already experienced one of them several time. You simply didn't realize that it was coming from within you and not from Max as you suspected. I’m talking about the flashes, my child. You have the ability to see images that come from outside of you. This can only be done by opening a connection. If not for your ability to do this, then you wouldn’t have been seeing the images that have lead the two of you to two of the orbs.”

“You see, you do meet the primary qualifications for being a Kuyana. As for the other requirements, you tell me. Are you the type of person who would be categorized as a person who likes to think things through, make plans, thinks quickly on their feet, and is a strategist? Aren’t you someone who continually strives to expand their knowledge, and thrives on controlling the elements of a situation? The Kuyana and Huyana need to be possess these traits. If a dangerous situation where to present itself, such as might happen in times of war, we need level headed leaders who can guide the others wisely and quickly so as to reduce the risk of someone or everyone getting hurt or killed.”

“Don’t worry about what gifts you have or don’t have right now. Once the Akenyas is complete, they will begin to reveal themselves. And, as in the case of Max and the other’s, your powers will grow stronger with use. Now, unless you have any other questions I can answer for you about what we’ve discussed, we really need to return to our discussion about the four-square.”

“As I was telling you earlier, once all of the other couples have completed their Akenyas, the other humans within your group will give you the numbers needed to complete a second four-square. The combination of who goes in which four-square doesn’t matter as long as one of the two of you is present to make the connection. If the case were to arise where both of you are needed to complete a four-square it is Max, the Huyana, who controls the connection and acts as the leader.”

“Once everyone learns to identify and use their gifts, you will have two tactical advantages those hunting you will not be expecting. The first is simply being a second four-square. I think that’s pretty much self explanatory, since they have no reason to suspect that the royal four would ever take human mates or that, by doing so, they would undergo changes during the Akenyas.”

“It may further surprise you to know that the eight of you will be considered something of an enigma, even on our planet. Not only does your group consist of two different species, as similar as they may be, but also that the eight of you will be able to successfully accomplish something with ease that no two four-squares in the history of our people has been able to do before. You will be able to join your two four-squares into one unit. Since this has never been accomplished before, I know not what to call it. Until a more appropriate name comes to mind I’ll refer to it as a double-four-square.(any suggestions?)

“For the moment, I’m sure if you work together, your two four-squares will be adequate to handle the situations you will come across. However, it won’t be for long; not against the Warriors of Lenohti.”

“These warriors have one goal and one goal alone; to earn their place among the honored of their people. Unfortunately, the only way they believe they can achieve their goal is by killing the Royal Four, thereby putting a stop to the threat of a unit galaxy which would undoubtably mean an end to their own belligerent way of life.”

“Once they discover who you are, they will come at you full force. The only way you will be able to defend yourselves against them is first by mastering first the four-square and then the double-four-square. Then and only then, you must master and utilize the powers of the five orbs I have sent with you.


I’m not going to lie to you; time is running out. You must find the remaining two orbs as quickly as possible; your lives are going to depend on it. Also, you must stress to your friends the importance of them completing their own Akenyas. Not today mind you, as I will need some time to recover, but soon. I will let you know when and where you must take them.”

“During the time it takes you to locate the last two orbs you will face many trials and travel many roads, all of which will prepare you for the future that lies ahead of you. Keep in mind the others will be looking to you for guidance. As hard as it may be at times, it’s going to be up to the two of you to give it to them. I’m sure you have already figured out that it’s not easy being the one everyone turns to for leadership. It is a responsibility which can weigh heavily upon an adults shoulders, but than to have it placed upon you while you are still so young makes it that much harder to bare. It will benefit you both to learn to share the burdens that come with your positions. When time allows, talk through them rather than trying to solve everything on your own. Now then, I’ve told you all I can. The rest is in your hands and in the hands of the others.”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“Phillip. Diane. I know you both trust your son to do the right thing, but he is a boy for heaven sakes. I think we all know what goes through a teenage boys mind. I’m sure you have seen how close your son and my daughter have been getting and I’m just saying that. . . .”

“Jeff, we know that you are concerned, and we aren’t saying that you shouldn’t be, but at the same time we have to trust our kids. We can’t lock them up or stop them from seeing each other. They are both going to be turning eighteen in a matter of months. If it will make you feel better, I’ll have a talk with Max. Other than that, I honestly don’t think there is a whole lot we can do. Kids these days, if they want to have sex, will find a way no matter how much we encourage them to wait.”

“As much as I’d hate to admit it, I know your right. I just hope that my Lizzy waits until she’s much, much older. Preferably she’ll wait until her wedding night after graduating from college.” Realizing that he still hasn’t seen his daughter or any of her friends, Jeff asks, “Where is my daughter anyway?”

TBC. . . .

Note: Summer is almost here, yeah. I'm hoping to have more time to work on this now. I'll be sitting at the pool side with the kids like last summer, but this year I have a lap top instead of writing it out on paper. That should cut out delay time.
posted on 27-May-2002 9:00:59 PM by Mary N OO8
Help needed:

Anyone have any ideas for a better name for the double-four-square? I was thinking that since they actually use the circle when they four this that it should be more along those lines.

The Mingo indian word for circle is kathwatases. Eight is teknyôô.

I don't really see those working though.
posted on 7-Jun-2002 7:54:31 PM by Mary N OO8
I have the next part written, but my beta is out of town. Should I post it with possible errors or make you wait until he gets back from his trip?
posted on 7-Jun-2002 11:38:03 PM by Mary N OO8
Exert from chapter 22

While Liz had been busy on the phone, Max was running through possible solutions for this very problem. The first one that came to mind seemed the easiest. “Did you have a chance to talk to your parents about the nightly sleepovers?”

“Only briefly. I didn’t go home last night remember.”

“That wouldn’t work then. Next choice! You need to call your parents and tell them that you got Kelly to cover your shift. The fewer surprises they get right now the better. While on the phone with them, tell them that you needed the afternoon off because we’re hoping to make our first group trip within the next week or so and that we needed to go and do some additional research to decide where we wanted to go for our first trip.”

“That covers this part of the day, but what about tonight? What am I going to tell them to explain why I’m not coming home tonight when I’d already told them that I had something I wanted to talk to them about?”

“When you talk to them, tell them that my parents invited you over for dinner tonight and that we are going over to my place when we finish at the library. We can call my mom and ask her to cover for us. After everything Isabel and I told our parents last night about the importance of us all being together for safety sake, I don’t think she’d risk blowing our cover story on the chance that your parents would ground you for lying to them. To cover for tonight, I’ll ask her to call your parents later on tonight and tell them that you, Isabel, and I all fell asleep in the family room while we were watching a movie or something like that. Since it’s summer break, and they’ll know that both of my parents are in the house and they will think that Isabel is in the same room as we are, I don’t think your parents are going to be too worried about you sleeping over. Especially since they are used to your normal summer sleep over routine anyway.”

Chapter Twenty-nine

“They left a few hours ago.” Diane offered. Thanks to her brief conversation with Max and Liz over the phone earlier that morning, she had a good idea what to say to Jeff in order to cover for the kids in case they didn’t get back until late or not at all. “Liz tried to reach you before they left, but for some reason she couldn’t get through on your home line or at the Crashdown. She said she’d try again later, but I guess she must have gotten sidetracked. They, meaning Liz, Max, Isabel, and all of their friends had a few places they needed to go this afternoon. Max said they needed to do some last minute research into the places they are thinking about going to this summer. I think they are trying to narrow down their final selection and decide when they are going to go where.”

“When they get finished, they all agreed to stop by our home for a barbeque and maybe some movies. We thought it would be a great way for us to get to know all of Max and Isabel’s friends a little better and at the same time welcome Trent to Roswell.” Wanting to add a little more validity to the story and make the situation seem as natural as possible, Diane turns to Trent/Nesado and includes him in on the conversation. “Trent, you are planning on joining us tonight aren’t you?”

Sitting quietly listening to their conversation from the dining room table, Trent/Nesado, in typical college guy fashion answers, “Oh yeah. Free food and beverages, I wouldn’t miss it. Besides, it’ll give me a chance to check out Tess’s friends.”

“Is that okay with you Jeff; that Liz attends that is? We especially want to get to know both her and Alex better since our own children seem to care for them so much.”

‘I don’t know Diane. I mean I haven’t seen her for days myself except for brief moments as she’s coming and going. I’d really like to have some time with her.”

“I can understand how you feel, Jeff; they really are growing up so fast. Before we know it they will be on their way to college and having families of their own.” Pausing for a moment to give the appearance of him thinking about something, Phillip gives one last ditch effort to get Jeff to give in. “How about this? You let Liz join us tonight and we’ll see that Max spends the evening with you in the near future. That way you can get to know him a little better and hopefully put your mind at ease a bit about the two of them spending so much time together. What do you say? Is it a deal? I’ll even promise not to let the two of them slip off into his bedroom or anything like that.” Phillip half jokes referring to their previous conversation.
*~*~*~*~*~*~
Kosha couldn’t have been any more relieved than the young couple before her that the time for talking was over. Maintaining the connection between their spiritual essences and their physical forms over such a great distance was taxing on her own powers. Directing Max and Liz to kneel in the center of the circle facing each other, she informed them that it was time to complete the final stage of the Akenyas.

As she knelt in front of Max, Liz couldn’t fight the impulse to reach out and touch the exposed skin around the collar of his shirt. Ever so slowly she traced his collar line as she watched him swallow with great difficulty. Matching his gaze, she couldn’t help smiling at how glassy and dark with passion his eyes had become. Curious about what the final stage of the Akenyas is like and wanting it to be over as quickly as possible so she could be alone with Max at last, Liz turned to Kosha and asked, “What’s next? What’s going to happen? What should we expect?”

“To start, you will both need to place your left hand at the base of the other’s skull and your other hand over each other’s heart.”

“You’ll feel some pressure building at the base of your skull and then a small sharp prick, but don’t worry, it will fade quickly.”

Max and Liz looked into each other’s eyes, both looking for any trace of doubt or apprehension within the other about what was to happen. Seeing none, they do as they have been instructed. The warmth of Liz’s small hand as it comes to rest against the skin at the back of his neck suddenly increased the temperature of Max’s body in much the same way placing a cool cloth to the back of ones neck would work to cool the body, only much faster and in reverse.

On more than one occasion Liz had rested her hand on the back of his neck as she did now, but never once in all those times had he felt such a jolt of consuming heat. Max was being drawn to Liz like a moth to a flame. All rational thoughts had vanished, only to be consumed by his desire to touch and be touched by Liz in the most intimate ways known to man. With no thought to hiding his need for her, he closed the distance between their bodies at breakneck speed and closed his lips hungrily over hers in a searing kiss.

Going almost unnoticed by the young couple, Kosha placed her own hands over theirs at the base of their skulls. Within seconds a pleasurable current surged throughout their bodies, adding to the intense passion already threatening to consume them. As Kosha had predicted, they felt an enormous amount of pressure converging into one large mass of energy within their respective bodies. Before either became completely aware of what was happening, they felt a sharp pinch at the back of their necks. True to her word, the pain quickly vanished as the ball of energy flowed freely outward into their mates awaiting hand.

As her body consumed the energy she’d received from Max, Liz felt changes occurring within her. It was like parts of her mind and body were awakening for the first time. Then it began to happen again, the energy was building of it’s own accord this time, stronger than the last. Her hand, which still rested over Max’s heart, began to tingle. Her attention was drawn down to her hand needing to see what was happening. To her surprise, she realized that her hand was glowing. Not knowing how or what she was doing, she released the energy that had been building within her straight into his heart. At the same time she realized Max must have done the same thing, as she felt a sense of warmth wrap itself around her heart and spread through her veins to every recess of her body.

Max felt the energy congregating into a ball once again, this time faster than the two pervious times. At the same moment he felt it release through his hand at the back of Liz’s neck, he felt one enter. The flux of power continued to disperse through his body, only to grow and release again and again. Together they experienced a continual cycle of two energy sources traveling between them, growing faster with each cycle and increasing in both intensity and in size.

This process repeated several more times, each time stroking and rekindling to life their desire for each other until reaching the same level of intensity in which it had been before they’d been distracted. Melding their bodies together as closely as their barriers would allow, they resumed feasting upon each other’s lips with a bruising fervor.

Kosha opened her eyes and removed her hands from their resting places on Max and Liz. Knowing her task was complete and that neither would acknowledge or even be aware of her presence or lack thereof, she quickly moved from their sides and headed toward the waiting doors. With one last glance back at the couple she quickly passed through, closing them as quietly as possible. Shaking her head at her own behavior, she wondered why she’d bothered to be so careful. After all there was little doubt that anything would succeed at being loud enough to disturb a couple so completely immersed in each other as Max and Liz were. With a radiant smile spread across her face, she turned around and began the journey back to her own quarters for some much-needed rest.
~^~^~
Max couldn’t stop touching Liz. Not that he wanted to; her skin felt so soft, warm, and inviting as it literally glowed under the welcome touch of his hands. His attention was drawn to the visual effects their flesh to flesh contact created upon both of their bodies; mostly upon hers. The radiant light emulating through their skin was working as an aphrodisiac making him crave seeing her entire body glimmering beneath him as they moved together as one.

As difficult as the visual effects were making it for him to take things slowly, he pledged with vast determination to make this moment in time last as long as possible, just in case their ability to make each other glow was only a momentary aftermath of the Akenyas and not a permanent change. By slowing things down, he planned to make sure they both had plenty of time to thoroughly enjoy and explore the luminous effects their caresses invoked upon each other’s bodies. With that in mind, he opened himself to the possibilities of what was to come as he gave into the pleasures to be shared with his dark haired beauty.

Liz’s thoughts apparently paralleled his. Her own pace had slowed considerable as she worked to remove the few articles of clothing preventing her full exploration of his skillfully sculptured, masculine physique. She couldn’t stop smiling as she watched the way his skin glowed under her fingertips. On many occasions she’d fantasized about being able to make him glow the same way he had made her glow that night at Michael’s apartment at the end of last winter.

If not for the aching need for more growing deep inside of her, Liz suspected she could have continued to bask in this simple pleasure for an eternity. It was simply an amazing feeling knowing that her touch was able to make Max glow this way.

With each moment that passed, the harder and harder it became not to give into the hungers of the flesh. Unable to endure the sweet torture created by searing wet kisses, roaming hands, and hot flesh pressed against hot flesh, they joined their bodies together in the dance of lovers. Immediately upon doing so, realization of what the glowing meant became clear. They hadn’t simply been stimulating each other physically and visually as they had previously thought; they’d been caressing each other’s essences. The emulating effect through their skin was the result of their unique ability to touch the spirit within the other.

Lost to the emotions stirring within them from their physical and spiritual connection, Max and Liz scarcely realized they were anticipating each others movements. Moving in perfect unison they appeared to have spent a lifetime perfecting their intimate dance together. As a vision illuminated by radiant light, each and every glorious stroke shared was naturally fluid and precise, creating pleasures beyond any they’d ever experienced.

With each deep loving stroke she felt Max make into her body, Liz felt Max leaving a little more of himself behind; nothing tangible, but somehow completing her, making her feel whole in a way she had never thought possible. The same was true for Max, only from his perspective it was Liz who was giving of herself while he was doing all the receiving.

Feeling thoroughly loved in every way possible, Liz reached peak after peak crying out her husband’s name as a prayer to the unseen heavens above.

Max struggled to keep his release at bay not wanting the physical and emotional pleasure he was sharing with Liz to come to an end. It wasn’t until he’d pushed himself to the brink of exhaustion and every muscle in his body screamed from over exertion that he gave in and allowed himself to release his seed into Liz’s waiting body.

The instant they reached their final completion, Max and Liz vanished from the room with a flash of blinding light.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After witnessing a flash of light radiate from with the circle, Max and Liz’s bodies jerked upward, causing Isabel to laugh out in relief. However, her laughter died in her throat as they collapsed against each other, once again showing no signs of movement. It happened so quickly, she was beginning to wonder if she’d really seen them move or if it had been a figment of her wishful mind. “Did you see that? Did any one else see that?!”

TBC. . .

I just want to thank Razz214, roswellluver, Trinity Star 1323, ColoradoGal, Fresa Chica, CantonGuy, AJK001, BelieveInTrueLove, and SciFiGirl1 for their wonderful fb. If not for all of you, I can say that I would still be working on this story. I'd also like to thank Jen C for offering to beta this chapter for me, but as it turns out my normal beta took time out of his packing to do it for me.

You should all send a special thank you to Jogor1160 for getting this done for me/us. (This one's from me)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!*big*

[ edited 2 time(s), last at 10-Jun-2002 8:34:45 PM ]
posted on 8-Jun-2002 12:52:48 AM by Mary N OO8
Shameless bumb.
posted on 8-Jun-2002 9:28:03 AM by Mary N OO8
I'm still needing a better name for the double-four-square if anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them. *big*
posted on 18-Aug-2002 11:02:01 AM by Mary N OO8
Hello all!

I'm sorry I haven't been able to leave anyone any fb lately. I've had so little time for reading this summer. And the time I do find is broken up into small fragments here and there. With school starting back up, I'm hope this changes somewhat. It'd been really hard, but fun at the same time, having my kids around me all of the time. The hard part comes from not having time to write and read because they are always wanting to my time.

I'm sure you can see how it can be fun. My son and I have been playing games like Warcraft III together. Us against the computers. My others just want my time whether we are at home or at the pool. Over all, with the kids it's been a great summer, just little personal time for me, lol.

Can I say that having a laptop with me at the pool didn’t workout the way I’d hoped it would. One of two things always happened. One, the battery would run out too soon, or two, I’d turn it one and never get more than a few sentences written before someone was wanting my attention. In most cases they, my kids and some of the other swimmers on the swim team, where talking me into playing “Phase Ten” with them. (If you don’t know how to play the game, you should really check it out. It’s a lot of fun to play with a group of friends.)

My cake business is doing very well. My add hit the Yellow Pages this month and I’ve been getting a number of calls. This is a good thing. It will bring in some extra money so hopefully my family and I can get off of our tight budget. It will really be nice to have some money to play with for a change. Who knows, maybe I’ll be hitting the stores more often and update my wardrobe.(Wishful thinking on my part!)

With the kids starting school soon, I will make a greater effort to getting new parts out to this story and one that has been screaming at me to work on. The sequel to ‘Taking a Step Back’, “Forever Forward, Never Back.”